Astro 28N: Post Trip Highlights

The Sequoia site was still buried in snow, so we transferred our class to the Big Sur Mountains. This had the advantage of placing us deeper inside the path of the Io occultation. This Spring, Big Sur is especially beautiful and we were favored with clear dark skies on both Friday and Saturday nights. We camped at the top of the knoll at Ponderosa Campground, with the Naciemento River flowing below. Eric Messick also has a page of photos from this trip.

Friday afternoon I arrived after a facinating trip to Phoenix to be one of the Grant Awards judges at the Intel International Science Fair. Check out my web page on this trip.

The Io occultation was a near miss from our location. I hate when that happens! At least, observers farther south had occultations - there was a small south shift of the path. Check my page on the Io observations, which also includes links to the profile of Io determined by the successful observers. Our miss (labelled #1 on the plot) helped define the northern terrain of this asteroid.

Late afternoon targets included Jupiter, at Jeff's 12" scope

Carving up veges for dinner

Our optical fire power

Eric assumes his sun warrior pose as we study sunspots

Has our vegetarian meal plan driven some campers over the edge? Jeff demonstrates how the ancients lasso'd blue-belly lizards

Some of the class climbed up the water tank to listen to my first geology talk

As Darren points out, I am truely "the man" - high above the Big Sur coast I lecture on the geologic setting and geologic history of California

Second stop was at the Naciemento Fault, defining the western edge of the Salinian Block. It's seen here as a discontinuity steepening the slope to the coastline.

Searching for jade on Willow Creek beach...

...and studying the diverse metamorphic bedrock and stream transported rocks

Tibetan-style rock cairns spontaneously dot the beaches of Big Sur

A dyke! - Not Topher, but the calcite vein he's expostulating about here

A red-tailed hawk shows off a snake it grabbed

Back at camp, I show some amazing conglomerate metamorphics carved by the stream

Then it was time to take the edge off all this hard geolog-izing. Before dinner, Topher found these delicious swimming holes a 4 minute walk from the campsite.

This oak at camp was straight out of "The Hobbitt"

Amanda and Lindsay work some side dishes. Isn't that a fine automobile in the background?

Without grill-meister McKulle along, Chris stepped up to plate with these mesquite-broiled skirt-steaks

Cathy studies globular cluster M13 in Hercules...

Amanda plans her project's next observations while Cole ponders the pitch-black sky

Lindsay does some serious study on the Whirlpool Galaxy. River & Chris, pose.

A UFO? Chris brought out his nuclear-powered frisbee after the astro projects work tappered off

...a wind up, and a toss... The campfire is in the background

Hypnotic campfire coals...

...stimulate cosmic meditations

Local wildlife cruising on a Sunday morning

A final lecture on planetary heating/cooling dynamics, at the swimming hole. I re-enact the flying femur scene from "2001". Note even the baboon-faced (no, not the instructor) rock at upper right!

Cathy, working that hair, to beautiful effect.

So I try it... perhaps not to the same effect. Eric got these last 3 pictures.