Astro 28S Post Trip Photo Page

Our adventure was headquarter'ed at Honeymoon Flat campground, by the East Walker River. It was a perfect campsite, with wide views of the sky. Fred and Jim had staked out a good place by the time I arrived at 5:30pm. The rest of the gang trailed in as I set up the scopes and turned the students towards the task of starting our pasta dinner. The graze was our big goal #1, but our clear skies suddenly showed some clouds over the Sierra crest, right where the moon was. Still, it remained clear around the moon for a while, long enough for Diane to watch her first lunar occultation, of a 7th magnitude star a few minutes before the graze. But clouds engulfed the moon minutes before the graze itself, and didn't clear away till 15 minutes later. Our two stations were totally shut down!

"Houston, we have"... a moon - and the group is ready to graze

Gabby is enthralled by the giant black hole at the core of the great globular star cluster M15

These deer were complete slackers, using their adorable-ness to scam food off campers. Didn't they look at the calendar? Hunting season starts today!

Karen shows off her artfully accessorized "crepes Nolthenius"

Sara and the source of Buckeye Hot Spring

The springs cascade over this travertine formation which it precipitated over the years...

...making this delightful hot waterfall

A delicious opportunity to explain the formation of hot springs and their relation to tectonic plate boundaries

Maya, doubtless pondering deeply the geologic history of this otherwise boring rock

Our second destination - Fales Hot Creek. Chris and I enjoy our return to Fales, recalling the 2001 class which enjoyed a lecture here


"This... is your basic... rock" OK, I like to begin from first principles

My lecture at Travertine Hot Springs covered the nature of precipitates such as calcium carbonate and the newly discovered sedimentary rocks on Mars

Travertine, a calcium carbonate mineral formation, deposits when the mineral-saturated water reaches the earth's surface.

At places where the water pauses the minerals come out of solution, forming little dams

Leanna gets in contact with her inner cavegirl, and wrestles this steelhead out of the rapids with her bare hands!

A rare lenticular cloud was the first sign the weather was taking a left turn

Bizarre cloud formations descend onto our camp

Sunset lights up the bottoms of these rare mammulus clouds

Virga falls and is lit by the last amber sunlight of the day

Cue the "Close Encounters" theme music. Is that the Mother Ship in the mist?

And this concludes the most beautiful and dramatic cloud show I've ever seen


Karen shares a moment with a too-tame deer

Caltech students and instructor were also studying Travertine Hot Springs this weekend - chemistry and microbiology

My Sunday lecture was at the north shore of Mono Lake - a final hug of this tufa tower

A final hero shot...