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● CSSP 2014


CSSP 2012


Cherry Springs Star Party 2014 (June 26-29, 2014)

    July 2, 2014: If you're looking for a write-up on CSSP 2013, don't bother. Like 2011, it was a rain fest. Clouds we can handle, but rain drives everyone into their own cocoons. Nothing to see, move along.

    I've come to the conclusion that CSSP stands for "crap shoot star party" because the weather is very capricious. We never know what to expect. The forecasters' predictions were divided, but the Clear Sky Clock won the accuracy prize.

    This year's event brought three lovely nights of clear skies, but the first two were very damp. I didn't bring dew fighting equipment, even though I know better. Too bad Joe and I weren't vending Joe's fine Astrozap products. I spent the three nights collecting narrowband data on another summer nebula, the Trifid. I shot the Lagoon and the Swan at TSP 2014 and intend to complete my collection of summer nebulae in narrowband before the summer's over. I probably should get more data on the S-II and O-III layers. I had to discard all of Friday night's frames as unusable.



M 20 Emission and Reflection Nebula in Sagittarius ("The Trifid"). HST palette. 6000 sec. L, 3000 sec. H-a, 3000 sec. S-II, 2250 sec. O-III. Optics: AT8RC @ f/8. Camera: ST8-XME. Filters: Custom Scientific Luminance & H-a, Schuler S-II, Baader O-III.



Cherry Springs Star Party 2012 (June 14-17, 2012)

June 20, 2012:  This year, weather conditions have been pretty kind to star parties with abundant clear nights.  At the Cherry Springs State Park near Coudersport, PA, skies are Bortle 2 (very dark) but the climate is very unpredictable.  I have attended four star parties there since 2009, averaging one clear night out of four.  In the major leagues, a .250 average would be very good, but for astronomy, especially imaging, it's disappointing. 

In stark contrast to last year's swamp fest edition, this year's event was nothing short of amazing.  No black flies, black bears, mosquitoes, or other annoyances were observed, and stars were plentiful on all four nights I was there.  The only downside was that only two nights were suitable for imaging, and there was only six hours of complete darkness this time of year.  The result was only one astro-image: the heart of the Crescent Nebula.  Due to an equipment change, I had to remove the f/6.3 focal reducer that yielded an effective focal length of 1750 mm to shoot this image at the full f/10 and 2790 mm focal length.  This pushes the G-11's mechanical limits, but the results are pretty good, in my humble opinion. 

Although my vending activities prevented me from attending David Eicher's keynote presentation, we had a lively discussion on the topic of discordant QSO redshifts.  Apparently, this hypothesis was "resolved" thirty years ago, but some ideas never lose their appeal. 




The Heart of the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus (NGC 6888). C-11 @ f/10 (!). 45 m. L & R, 67.5 m. G & B


Ready for action.

Clear, Dark and Steady Skies!

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