Despite worries about raging wildfires scorching the state in the news, we had perfect skies for both nights. Clean blue skies in the day, and deep black skies for telescope explorations at night. We had only 1 student at the pre-trip meeting who bowed out due to worries about smoke (which was indeed bad in Santa Cruz itself on the Friday morning Oct 13 when we left town.)

Here's Kirk's excellent photography page. I'll borrow a few of the best and combine with my own in the pictures below, as I find time.

Giving my cosmology lecture 'round the campfire. The origin of the Universe, the multi-verse, how a living planet like ours makes sense in the new paradigm. The Big Questions - answered!

Sunspot lecture, solar cycles, relation to solar luminosity changes.

We're at solar minimum, we had to squint just to find 2 teeny tiny spots

I treat my students to fine cooking. French Crepes on Satuday mornings. I'm up at the first hint of dawn, for a few miles of solo trail running, then dive into making the batter for my crepes. Saturday's are always awesome!

JP not only provided expert sky adventuring with his 18" Dob on quasars and distant galaxy clusters, he also kept the coffee/hot chocolate complex well manned.

At the entrance to California Cavern, I gave my lecture on the fundamental, key work of Anton Vaks et al. (2013), using the temperature and deposition history of limestone speliothems in determing how, in the last interglacial maximum, it was temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial baseline that was the tipping point for the melt of ~all of the Arctic Permafrost, exposing its carbon to release to the atmospher and amplifying global warming.

At Calilfornia Cavern, ready for our hike to the entrance. I'm showing off the meteorite I just bought for the department, and then do my lecture on the fine work of Anton Vaks and the sobering implications for current climate change


At Natural Bridges, where a stream has eroded its way through a ridge and come out the other side, making calcium carbonate precipitation features for us to admire