Last weekend, Aug 3, the TAA had their annual Star Party at Big Meadows. It was for members only and it was a big success. Several members came up just for the night, others stayed the whole weekend. It was great to get out of the valley heat! The temps up at Big Meadows were in the high 70′s during the day and low 40″s at night.
I brought both my 13.1″ Dob and Celestron NexStar 11. Butch brought his Celestron CPC 11 and Mike brought his Orion 8″ Dob. The sky was amazing! I arrived at Big Meadows on Thursday. The sky was so clear and bright that night that I almost didn’t look through my scope. I just wanted to soak in the beauty of the night sky eyes.
Saturday night the sky was as clear as Thursday night. Clear and filled with stars. The Milky Way was so well defined that it looked like thick white puffy clouds in the sky. You could see all of Scorpius from head to tail laying on its side. Sagittarius wast just starting to tilt. About 10:00 pm Joyce started noticing some very bright meteors shooting through the night sky. Everyone started to take notice. We determined that they were coming from Perseus and were precursors to the upcoming Perseus Shower this weekend. Interesting, after 11:30 the meteor rate slowed down and by midnight they were gone.
We spent most of the evening looking at what we call “eye candy” and there was lots of it. M51 was still high enough that you could definitely see the spiral arms of both galaxies. M4, M7, M8 Lagoon Nebula, M20 Trifid Nebula, M17 Swan Nebula, M11 Wild Duck cluster, M16 Eagle Nebula, M27 Dumbbell Nebula, M57 Ring Nebula, North American Nebula, Veil Nebula, M13 Hercules Cluster, Double Cluster, M31 Andromeda Galaxy, M52 Salt and Pepper, just to name a few. I never get tired of looking at these things.
Katie Oros took pictures for the first time through a telescope and they turned out quite well. The scope was azimuth mounted, so she had to limit her exposures to 10 seconds or less. Here are some of her pictures.