Astro 28R - Spring '14


Mar 2 Sunday 9am - 12:50pm in Room 706. Pre-trip planning session for our field trip the following weekend. Pre-trip is mandatory. We'll help you arrange carpooling, distribute maps, explain exactly where to go. Note we have a grazing lunar occultation not long after dark, so please be sure to arrive at Carrizo Plain with plenty of time. We'll also decide meals. I strongly suggest that you let me provide you with Saturday Breakfast, dinner, and Sunday breakfast. $10 per person to me at the pre-trip meeting and I'll cook and serve you 2 breakfasts and a dinner! I really improves the class togetherness and keeps us together. $10 for 3 meals, including a French crepes breakfast on Saturday, is a real deal! We'll also have a slide show and lecture on grazes and what their scientific value is, and on the class process itself. Note that the pre-trip meeting is SUNDAY, not the Saturday March 1 date shown in the Schedule of Classes. I'll remind you of this repeatedly.

There are still some loose ends to nail down during the week before we arrive at Carrizo. Rain possibilities, camp fire permit, permit for our group... Anything requiring your attention I'll be using your email address to contact you, so be alert and make sure you give me a "live" email (you won't be spammed), and not a dummy email such as we're all used to giving to nosey advertisers etc!)

I'm distributing maps and driving instructions on our pre-trip on Sunday. Note with special care - It is ESSENTIAL that you fill your gas tanks at the last gas stations on the drive down, and those are in Paso Robles, still quite a long ways from Carrizo Plain. There are no gas stations in Carrizo (last time we were there). Fill up in Paso Robles whether you need gas or not. You'll not be able to refill until Sunday when you are driving back, again in Paso Robles.

Mar 7 Friday. Our telescope volunteers Kirk, JP, and Dave McKulle expect to be at the campsite Thur evening Mar 6 so if you arrive any time early on Friday you should be able to find it. I expect to be at our campsite on Caliente Ridge Rd by 4pm or so. I'll cook a pasta meal for whomever is there by the time we're ready to cook. The special event around which this class was designed is a pair of lunar grazing occultations which happen on Friday evening. The first is at 8:10pm. We need to be at the graze site by 7:10pm to be sure we're set up and ready to get data. If you are going to be late, go straight to the visitor's center, rather than drive up the road into the mountains and then have to drive right back down immediately (or worse, miss us altogether). Our group should be at the Visitor's Center by no later than 7:00pm. We have a second graze at 9:40pm, and we'll return to our campsite after that graze, and discuss our data around the telescopes. If you have a tape recorder, please bring it. If you have a portable short-wave radio which receives WWV time signals, please bring it.

Mar 8 Saturday. 8:30am we'll be starting breakfast. I cook my famous French Crepes, and it's a leisurely process. I'll keep making them until the ingredients are used up or everyone is full. Then we'll pack stuff for our day trips. I'm trying to schedule a docent-led walk to Painted Rock, which would mean we'd be at the Visitor's Center about 5 miles from camp, depending on when we can get a time. However, this looks unlikely since they have docent training on this day and are not available to do tours.

Other stops for Saturday will be a site near the southern end of the park where an amazingly diverse set of rocks can be found in a bizarre setting, studying sag ponds associated with the San Andreas Fault, offset stream beds near Wallace Creek, and Soda Lake, which is on the way to Wallace Creek. We will keep an eye out for bare scarp depositional sites in hopes of seeing evidence of a possible comet/asteroid impact which hit the Earth 12,900 years ago. No promises on success here, but we will try.

There are no bathrooms except at the Visitor's Center and at the campground about a mile from our campsite, and at KCL campground on our drive south, so plan for that.

I'll have a college vehicle and can take some people with me, but many will carpool in their own cars. The total driving we'll do during Saturday will be about 40 miles or so. It's essential that you fill your gas tank in Paso Robles or Atascadero on Friday, whether you need to or not. There's no gas stations between Paso Robles and our camp, and if you can't make it back to Paso Robles on Sunday, you'll have to drive south to Maricopa in the Central Valley for gas. That'll mean you miss our Sunday stops and micro-lectures along the San Andreas Fault north of Carrizo Plain.

4:15pm - Be back at camp to relax a bit. Then I'll start on dinner. Sunset is about 7pm. I'll cook a meal of my unique Asian Rice.

7:45pm - Telescopic explorations of the Spring sky, including the nebulae of Orion, the open star clusters of the Orion Spiral Arm, Jupiter, landforms on the moon, a few lunar occultations, and galaxies of Virgo and the Big Dipper area.

Mar 9 Sunday 8:30am. I'll be cooking a breakfast of sliced potatos and veges with a blend of spices, and scrambled eggs. Might also be some fruit.

10am: Drive north to Soda Lake Overlook, where we do another micro-lecture on the landforms and history of Carrizo, and some info on the new Solar Farm of California Valley.

10:45am - Stop at the California Valley solar farm for another micro-lecture

11:15am - head north out of California Valley, onto Hwy 58 and then north onto Bitterwater Valley Rd, which runs along the San Andreas Fault through beautiful hills and ranches. We'll stop at a couple of places for more microlectures. At this point, I'll pass out the take home final exams, say our good byes, wish you a fine trip home. A few may want to meet for lunch at the rancher-friendly and rustic Cholame Cafe (where acting legend James Dean died in a car crash and where there's a poignant memorial).