Astro 28C - Observing a Lunar Graze from the High Desert, Mar 25-27, 2011

Post -Trip Photo Page

I'll post pictures as I get a chance. Meanwhile, Kirk, our Astronomy Club volunteer helper, has put up a Flickr page which has some really beautiful pictures which capture our entire weekend very well. Check them out here.

Late March in the Mojave is usually a good bet for great weather - not too hot, not too cold, and usually dry. I rallied the troops at the pre-trip meeting on Wednesday that we'd have one last gullywasher of a storm on Thursday, and then a smaller storm on Saturday should pass north of us in the desert. I confidently predicted no rain, and probably clear skies. It was indeed so. However, Fred Miles drove down 2 days early and he did get a good dose of rain on Wednesday night, and cloudy nights both Wedneday and Thursday. But when the rest of the class arrived on Friday, skies had cleared. We did have a good breeze, but relocated our campsites closer to the cliffs where the wind was minimal. The scopes were set up - Fred's 8", the school's 10" LX200, and Kirk's 12" Dob, and we had a perfect dark night moving from example to example of all stages of star formation and evolution - from birth in emission nebular clouds, to main sequence stage, to Red Giant, to planetary nebulae or supernova remnant, and binary stars to illustrate how masses are calculated.


Saturday morning had a beautiful sunrise, and I got going making the batter for my famous French crepe breakfast for the students.


Saturday's plan was to explore the El Paso Mountains in the eastern side of the park, for examples of planetary processes including faulting, tilting, volcanism, the mineralization. We carpooled into the college van, and a 4WD truck, a 2nd hand ambulance (yes! shades of the GhostBusters!)


Student's eye view of me, passing out the Planetary Processes notes I made.


Inside Burro Schmidt tunnel