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  • in reply to: Set-up advice for newbies #4400


    Welcome to the darkest skies in Texas!

    The middle field is probably your best option. The bathhouse is at the north end of the observing field and the entry is level with the approach as I recall and easier to get in and out of than the bathhouse near the lower field (it has steps). You will be shielded from the traffic that does illuminate the lower field occasionally, though the cars are few and far between after the McDonald Observatory activities are over. It’s really not a problem if you are not shooting images. You can setup such that your car is nearby, especially along the eastern perimeter. The down-side is there is no shade on that side of the field so you may want to erect a shade shelter.

    Bring some good old landscape spikes to anchor your tent guys and shade shelter should you bring it as the ground is very hard and rocky. A good drilling hammer to put them in and a pry bar to get them out is required!

    See you soon,

    The upper field is where the serious AP and Visual observers hang out, however there are only port-o-lets located on the south end.

    in reply to: TSP 2013 Observing Program Lists #4337

    Hi Andy,

    The problem is with SkySafari…it does not have a very useful list of well known asterisms. In fact it is quite weak in this respect.

    The two objects you should add to the list you now have downloaded in SkySafari are as follows:

    For Stargate, search instead for the double star Struve 1659 (STF 1659, a.k.a. SAO 157383). This will place you dead center of the unmistakable triangular Stargate asterism in a low power FOV. Add this double star to your list in place of Stargate.

    For Kemble 2, better known as little Cassiopeia or Little Queen, is an asterism in Draco. You will see the striking resemblance to the constellation Cassiopeia. To find it search for the star HD 172922 and you will have this astrism well centered in a low power FOV. Add this star to your observing list in place of Kemble 2.

    For a little added asterism fun have a look at Kemble’s Cascade (Kemble 1). This is another beautiful asterism located in the constellation Camelopardalis. This pattern of unrealted stars makes up an apparent straight line of more than 20 colourful 5th to 10th magnitude stars over a distance of approximately five moon diameters, and the open cluster NGC 1502 can be found at one end.


    in reply to: Deep Sky Wonders #1502

    John, Adam,

    I was pondering this as a Christmas present for Samantha but I procrastinated too long and they ran out just before the holidays. It’s on my Amazon wishlist now too.

    Somebody has already started creating Deep-Sky Wonders .skylist observing lists for Sky Safari and made them available on the Southern Stars site:

    UPDATE: Amazon has them in stock now…..I just ordered one.

    in reply to: Season for Observing #1500

    Mosquitoes and Chiggers are my arch enemies and usually they are plentiful in my yard throughout the warmer months. Thus I second Winter and Spring as my favorite time of the year for observing. However this Summer was a rare exception. The Texas drought really kept both of these pernicious critters at bay. Even though the seeing wasn’t nearly as nice as the winter months, I did manage to do some observing in the yard throughout the summer months without getting gnawed on.

    My latest foray being Ha Solar, I’ve really been enjoying this warm Winter we’ve been experiencing and really stepped up the daytime observing too. Heck, the worst observing session night or day beats a good one in the ol’ Salt Mine……

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