Lotsa Goodies!

Managed to make it up to Denver and astronomy store (S&S Optika) and picked up a flip mirror diagonal for my telescope!  Yay!  Now I can hook my camera to the telescope and have an eyepiece in there too.  It looks like this:  http://www.amazon.com/1-25-Orion-Astrophotography-Flip-Mirror/dp/B001DGR3M8/ref=pd_ybh_9

They wanted the same price as Amazon, so while having to pay Denver tax made it more expensive, it was more than worth the driving time and cost to have the store owner show me how to use it and to make sure it actually works with my camera and OTA.  Which she worked it out to do!  If I had ordered it online I don’t think I would ever have figured out how to get it to focus both the eyepiece and the camera so that when one is focused the other is too.  If anyone is interested I’ll explain how that works but otherwise I’m not going into it.

Tonite I participated in a “Star Party” at the downtown campus of our local community college.  It was nice, although my mount was acting up and not being “GO TO” at all.  More like “GO SOMEWHERE IN THE SAME SECTION OF THE SKY AND YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN TO ACTUALLY FIND IT”  So basically I had to stick to objects that I knew where they were anyway… Like the Ring Nebula, Hercules Globular cluster, and another Glob close to that one– M93.  I had to find that one by having an eagle eyed student point the laser at what she saw and I moved the scope to where she was pointing. Showed the visitors the double star at Mizar and found another one in Lyra which is a double double…  All in all, good practice putting up and taking down my scope…got to play with the new variable density filter I got in Denver to view the moon…sooooo nice not to have to half blind myself looking at the moon!

I can’t wait to get down to New Mexico at some of the dark skies down there.  Trying to observe under a light dome can be very frustrating.  Kind of excited to do some touring too.  Plans so far:

Fri – Drive down to San Antonio, NM and camp
Sat – Crack of dawn and drive to Trinity Site – get there when gates open.  Leave there by noon at the latest…probably 10am and then drive the 2 hrs to the Very Large Array (where part of the movie “Contact” was filmed) – Stay there as long as I want and then go to the RV place in Socorro and then at dusk head over to the university observing site where the VLA is doing a public Star Party… I plan to be on the visitor side of the scopes for that one!  LOL
Sun – Drive down to a little southeast of Alamogordo (around 3 hrs) to check out the Solar Observatory visitor’s center where they have a really cool sundial and then camp at a campground near this quaint little town at the base of that mountain.
Mon – How can I go to NM without going to see Roswell?????  So that’s on the books for Monday, camp there that night and
Tues – Check out the Valley of Fires Rec area (really cool lava flow) and relatively near there is the Salinas Pueblo Missions Monument — Probably go to that first and then go camp at the rec area.
Wed – Drive back to Socorro and check in at the Enchanted Skies Star Party – may camp at the university observing site where everyone else is, or may go to the RV place so that I’d have electricity.  Have to see who else is there and the whole “ride” situation.  There is a tour that day to the top of South Baldy to the observatory there and I’ll catch a ride back down to the site and either observe there or take it easy.
Thur – GEODSS tour at White Sands – look it up if you’re interested.  I think it will be interesting.  My son is working on a project something along those lines except where GEODSS looks out at the universe, his project looks from our space based satellites down towards earth to detect the JUNK in orbit. Then observing at nite –
Fri – Various speakers and observing at nite
Sat – Tour the Spaceport near Truth or Consequences…how cool is that?  A spaceport!!!  LOLOL  Observing at Ft. Craig with the rest of the star party.
Sun – Drive Home

Ok, that’s enough rambling for now.

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