Wednesday, July 6, 2005

SSP 2005: Fun With Steve (without Steve)

The 2005 Shingletown Star Party was outstanding. We had more attendees than any prior year, we had excellent day and night temperatures, super door prizes donated by vendors from around the world, a sponsor beyond compare in Sam - the manager of Scope City in San Francisco (representing Lumicon, Scope City and Parks Optical), and, we had great skies!

I arrived a day early and stayed in Redding to make Wednesday easy, and it was, compared to other years. There was still a lot of set up to be done, but our volunteer staff really rolled into gear, and before we knew it our hospitality canopy was up, bathrooms standing at the ready, dumpsters in place, and the shower truck open for business. This was a very smooth year.

It was great to see so many familiar faces, the couple from England were back, as were the ones from Cincinnati, Doug Sprigg - who hosted Albert, Joe Bob and Dr. Kingsley in Arkaroola Australia - also stopped by for a few days as well. And, we had attendees literally from all the western states this year. The biggest scopes were three or four 28"ers.

The nights worked out this way.... Wednesday was a great night, Thursday, although I slept through it, was reported to be a fantastic night. Friday an Saturday we were dodging clouds, and Sunday..... perfectly clear and very transparent! I'm glad I stayed through Sunday night!

The nights I observed I did so with Richard Navarrete (Wednesday) and Jeff Gortatosky (Sunday). Richard and I worked through a few challenge objects and then on the Night Sky Observers' Guide in Delphinus. We were using 18" Obsessions. We logged IC 1296 (the small galaxy next to M57), NGC 3172 aka Polarisima, NGC 6507 in Sagittarius, then through NGCs 6891, 6905, 6928, 6930, 6927, 6934, 6944, 6944a, 6950, 6956, UGC 11620 and 11623, and NGCs 6954 and 6972.

As noted, I was so wiped out on Thursday, I was asleep by 10 pm. It happens, to bad it didn't happen on a lesser night.

I'll skip Friday, which was sucker holes, but fun socializing with everyone, and Saturday, which was a blast when we opened the scopes up to the public.

Sunday Jeff G and I started with the Night Sky Observers' Guide in Ophiuchus and used Steve Gottlieb's SSP Challenge List for every other object. Steve was at SSP last year, and I failed on virtually every one of his challenge objects. This year Steve's in Australia, but his list was still here, so I was albe to have fun with Steve even though he was not present. Jeff and I logged the following in Oph - M107,M12, M10, NGC 6235, B72, B47 and B51, M62, and then found we were having such great success with Gottlieb's challenge list (The Snake Nebula was GREAT!), we put the NSOG away and continued to log - IC 1257, Haute-Provence 1, Abell 43, IC 4677, Sh 2-71, NGC 6749, Abell 55, Abell 61, Sh 2-91 Parsamyan 21, UGC 11466 and UGC 12914.

If it hadn't been 3:30 a.m. the the night before driving home, I would have kept on. Both Richard and Jeff were great observing partners. But, that was enough on Sunday night. The trip was successful from logistical, social, and observing perspectives. I had an outstanding time, it was great too to see so many old returning friends, and make so many new friendships.

SSP 2006 should fall in late June, if I recall correctly (no calendar in front of me) it should start on the 26th. Mark your calendars!

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