Used the tripod as a unipod keeping the leg together. Yes Dan it works.
Hey! I told you to use a tripod as a monopod, not Dan! :p
And don't bother with a full moon, you won't see anything. You want a young or old moon so that the sunlight just rakes the terrain and highlights the details.
A full moon is for moonlight walks in the desert. ;) Enjoy!
Your post above reminded me of something: Don't professional/scientific light spectrum astronomy telescopes now use laser beam bounce-back technology in some kind of image adjustment algorithms to help negate the effects of light pollution?
If this is so, has this technology become affordable, yet, for use by amateur astronomers?
I can't speak to that, Phil, but you did remind me of the counter-pollution filters that I owned back then. Still do, I guess, I just can't find anything since we moved out here...it's too dark. :)
I'm sorry, but I disagree. You may be able to see a faint vestige of some of the BRIGHTER deep sky objects from light polluted city skies, but they are mere ghosts of what you can see from a true dark sky site. You have to be very selective in what you attempt to share with the public in an urban environment and your choices are severely limited.
You disagree that I could see what I saw? Of course they were not as distinct as under dark skies, and some things were impossible, but it didn’t stop me from trying. But if I could see even a hint of them from the city, I was confident that I could easily find and identify them under dark skies. And that’s what I’m trying to convey, living in the city doesn’t mean that backyard astronomy is closed to you. That’s what John Dobson was trying to show with the Sidewalk Astronomers.
I responded to a poster that thought he had to go to a dark sky area to see the ISS. That is not true. The ISS can often rival Venus in brightness.
And I've advocated for over 30 years that learning the fundamentals of Astronomy in an urban area is easier than in a dark sky environment. In Los Angeles, the primary stars of the constellations were pretty much the only stars available to the naked eye and makes learning them much easier.
ETA: All of this reminds me, in 1979, I found M100 from the deck of our apartment in Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood, CA. The following weekend was an LAAS Star Party.
At the SP, I was trying to see how many galaxies I could identify in the Virgo Cluster. While I found a nice Spiral Galaxy where I thought I saw M100 previously, there was an interloping star that I could not identify on the Norton’s Chart, so I just put M100 with a question mark in my logbook and moved on. It turned out that I had been one of the first the see what turned out to be a supernova in M100. I was such a novice that I didn't realize it and I was surrounded by experienced astronomers that could have not only confirmed it but would have been very excited about it.
This is from my blog entry describing the day we picked up the Casita:
They (the Casita factory) suggested a propane station in Ennis to fill our tanks and recommended the BBQ restaurant next to it for lunch. By the time we found the station, it was closed for lunch, and the cold front had caught up with us. It was 12:15 and the sign said that the shop would open at 1:00. We went next door to Bubba’s BBQ and got take-out and had lunch in the Casita.
We watched the clouds get lower and darker and the rain get heavier. At 12:45 an LPG delivery truck pulled into the station and a little old guy got out and limped over to us, knocked, and asked if we needed propane. He said that someone had called him and told him we were waiting. He wanted to get us fueled before the electrical fireworks started. In the half our or so that we had been there, the temperature dropped 30 degrees.
I called my sister and had her pull up a live Doppler radar website and give me a briefing on where the heaviest thunderstorm cells were. We drove through Ennis and headed back to her house on 287. The rain at times was so heavy it was hard to see and the winds were reported as 30 mph gusting to 45 in the Waxahachie area.
The little Casita behaved beautifully and I caught myself driving 60+ several times even though I was trying to drive conservatively. We did hydroplane several times and the wind blew the Pathfinder and Casita sideways across the highway as one unit.
By the time we got to Midlothian, the rain and wind was so heavy and the creeks were flooding over the highway so I decided it was time to hunker down for a while.
I called my sister and she told me that we were in the worst of it at the moment and that we had a shot at beating the next heavy cell if we left as soon as possible.
The rain let up a little and we hit the road again. We heard on the radio that DFW airport had been shut down due to tornadoes spotted nearby. I told my California-native wife to keep her eyes out for cyclonic action and pressed on. I’d spent most of my early life in Texas and Oklahoma and had yet to see a tornado but always wanted to…now was not the time for that. We’d paid for a whole egg, not an omelet.
As we hit the outskirts of Ft. Worth, the worst was behind us and the death toll was five or six. It rose into the teens the next day.
Full story here: http://casitalog.blogspot.com/2008/03/new-casita-travel-trailer.html
Piece of cake since then! ;)
Odd, but I never gave it any thought. We had a wet bath on the sailboat and now have one in the Casita. On both, I use a teak shower mat and an enclosed toilet paper holder.
Unlike Dan, we don't bother to dry it. When we make our last stop to dump the tanks, my wife hoses down the inside, sprays it down with cleanser, wipes it down with a sponge, then rinses it off. By the time she's done, I'm ready to dump the grey tank. I wish it was that easy at home. ;)
Well, Len, all I can say is that whenever I take a city person to truly black skies for the first time, there is almost always an audible gasp -- "I had no idea that there were so many stars -- it's like diamond chips on black velvet -- it's unbelievable" -- and so forth.
Just getting to a dark place is one of the biggest attractions of boondocking!
You'll get not an argument from me there, I'm just saying that you can use a telescope in the city and see most of the objects through it as you can in a dark-sky environment.
To be more specific, the common objects that interest most people are readily visible from the city through a small telescope. And I contend that learning the sky in a city is a plus since only the brightest stars are visible. The brightest stars define the constellations which makes learning them easier. Learn the sky first with sky charts, your eyes, and binoculars.
This was with a bit of "light pollution" from the San Diego skyline so I am anxious to stay in the Colorado River desert areas and see if I can find the ISS as you have described it.
When visible, my wife and I often saw the ISS from our hot tub in L.A. It's very bright and can be confused with an aircraft with it's landing light on. One night we even saw the Shuttle leaving the ISS and Soyuz arriving.
I have found, having lived in L.A. for 35 years that light pollution is overstated and overrated. When I bought my 8" SC scope, I was living in an apartment in Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood sign. I had no problem seeing most of the objects that I could see from the LAAS site in Lockwood Valley, near Mt. Pinos.
The real problem was finding the object or it's guide stars with the naked eye. It could even be a problem with the binos. Plus, it is also almost impossible to become fully night-adapted.
I always found that the heat rising off the streets and nearby houses was the biggest hindrance to urban astronomy.
Yes, we have the property, a motel and RV Park on 10 acres,
The one just West of town? If so, it would seem that there might be some light pollution problem there. Not a major concern, but something to consider. Are the telescopes permanently housed or do you have to set them up each night?
...you know that many are, right?
I do not know that because I refuse to take their word for it. That's why I "challenge" them. And, when I say that I challenge them I don't mean to imply "forcibly". I don't make demands but, through casual conversation and camaraderie, they show themselves to be fakes.
David Hannum said it best. (Not P.T. Barnum. ;))
Let me put a face to some of the folks out there.
Sorry, Gary, I'm not buying it. I lived in Los Angeles for 35 years including 9 in Hollywood. I ALWAYS challenged homeless "Vietnam Vet" about what unit they were in or where they went to Basic. Simple stuff any vet could answer. Not ONCE in 35 years did I get a factual, BTDT, answer.
My sister saw a "homeless" guy in (I believe) El Paso when she lived there. She went to some fast food place and bought him a burger. She gave it to him then went around the block and parked. When he walked away, she drove by where he was sitting. The burger was still there.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for the so called "homeless". They are either frauds, druggies, alcoholics, or mentally ill. And the latter were released from institutions in the '70s by "compassionate" liberals because of movies like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Bill".
In L.A., down the street from the beggars, illegal aliens were selling oranges and peanuts. I'd trade every beggar for those illegals. I've never seen an illegal begging!
With regards to binocular mounts, here's a suggestion, they automatically adjust to different heights. http://www.telescope.com/Orion-Paragon-Plus-Binocular-Mount-and-Tripod/p/5379.uts?keyword=binocular%20mounts
With that said, I live in the small town of Marathon, Texas located in the Big Bend Region of SW Texas. We have the distinction of being an established community under a Class 1 Dark Sky. We recently acquired a 24" Dobsonian donated to the school district from McDonald Observatory. What we need are astronomy enthusiasts to help us with star parties etc. If y'all know of anyone interested, please let us know!
I can be contacted through www.marathontexas.com or www.marathonmotel.com
Hope the suggestion helps!
That rig is a bit pricy but similar to one my late friend, and Star Party pad neighbor, Steve Kufeld, Telrad developer, used with his binos. See the 11th post in the thread. Not really worth the money unless you have some expensive and heavy duty optics like he did.
You show Midland as home in your profile. Have you moved? Just wondering. I know that area.
There are Star Parties and there are "Star Parties". The first is when it's knowledgeable people who gather together and set up their telescopes in a dark place have have their own plan for the evening, as in my post #11 mentioned above. The other is when you are trying to entertain and enlighten, even recruit, the uninitiated. My assumption is that it is the latter that you asking about.
For the first, in that area, you just need remote property that you can use, legally and a weekend nearest the new moon. For the second, you have to think it through a bit. Few are going to want to traipse off into the middle of nowhere to look at bright spots in the sky. You need to find as dark a location as you can that is close to town. This time, you probably don't want a New Moon.
A young waxing moon is a good start. It's, obviously, closer and more familiar. But, it also allows them to see the Sun rising on the crater walls and peaks. This amazes everyone and is mesmerising. (It got my wife interested in astronomy!) Next move to the planets. You have to go with what is visible but, honestly, if it's not Saturn or Jupiter, they won't be all that impressed. Venus, maybe, if you can show that it has phases like the Moon. If Saturn or Jupiter are visible, check to see if there will be any eclipses or occultations.
Binary stars and Star Clusters are probably next. Albireo would certainly be my first choice for newbies, but you need to bone up on them since questions will be asked. ;) With the 24", you can move out to galaxies, my favorite. Of course, there is my favorite star, and yours, the Sun. That's really where a real star party starts. Then you eat some BBQ and settle in for the nightly show. :D
ETA: BTW, if you are recruiting, tease them. Get them interested in the Moon, then tell them that next month it will be the planets. Then Star Cluster, etc. The idea is to hook them into delving deeper into the night. Remember, a lot of people get frightened thinking of the vastness of "out there". They may need to be introduced slowly. Don't push.
If you can, just visit the BLM office in Kanab. They were very helpful when we first went there, pulling out maps and giving us a virtual tour. The Ranger, Patty, even called other Rangers for their suggestions. She even marked interesting places in Kanab and told us the good resturants in town. It was an hour well spent.
I talked to Udall's office
Sorry, my friend, but you can not trust a Udall nowadays. I knew Mo Udall personally when I worked in Tucson television in the early '70s. He and Barry Goldwater would fly down together in one of their private airplanes to do interviews. Barry had a Beech Bonanza and Mo had a Piper Cherokee. They were good friends as well as good adversaries.
The young batch of Udalls are not cut from the same cloth.
...if there are no "LAWS" that threaten them to clean up after themselves.
You gave examples of littering and illegal dumping happening with these "LAWS". Those of us out in the real boondocks know that there is no enforcement. I live totally surrounded by BLM land and have never seen a BLM ranger, not here or anywhere we have camped. I have only seen one FS ranger over the years (outside of a visitor center) and he was picking up trash at a campground (which we never use). And, I'm proud to say, we have seen very little litter. And what we've found, we removed.
ETA: BTW, if you are ever in the SE AZ area, send me a PM. I'll be happy to lead you into the desert and show you all the backpacks, razors, shaving cream cans, deodorant dispensers, clothing, teddy bears, coloring books, and water bottles left by illegals that do litter the BLM land around us. And, no, I have not policed it up so that I can show visitors what is, in fact, happening around us.
...let me know what more we can do to stop the bad guys.
Personally, I'd like to see control slowly transferred to the county sheriffs. Trail maintenance could be handled by county employees as well.
My reasoning relates to jurisdictional disputes that we have had, locally, between both USFS and BLM.
Several years ago Tombstone's aqueduct system was severely damaged by a fire in the Huachuca Mtns. The FS would not let them repair it. After a year or two battle, the FS relented and agreed that they could repair it, but could not use motorized vehicles or equipment. Eventually the citizens took it upon themselves and repaired it. If you can find photos, you will see that the citizens were armed. (Sound familiar?) Also, BLM will not allow sheriff deputies or Border Patrol to use vehicles to pursue suspects in certain areas.
Putting control back in local hands, that are answerable to the local voters, is more in line with the original design of this nation.
Speaking of Nevada, is a state that is almost 85% owned by the federal government truly a sovereign state?