The Delta Cancri Graze at Mt. Diablo - March 7, 2009

This bright star, magnitude 3.9, grazed the 89% moon just 8 degrees from the northern cusp. The profile looked great, and the event happened at the entrance to Mt. Diablo State Park on a Saturday just after sunset. I little far to travel just for my own, but combined with a trip to the Park with friend(s) and more stations, it became a fun and science adventure possibility. In the morning, I did my first triathlon of the season - Skippy's Triathlon - up at UCSC. Always a good way to get an endorphin lift, I arrived home after the race and decided to try and recruit Chris Kitting and/or Viktoria for company and extra stations. Chris was conducting his own class, but Viktoria was eager for a road trip, and I packed an extra scope for her and off we went. One stopover in Fremont for a coffee and subway foot-long's to power our evening, and we continued on to the south entrance.

The camera likes Viktoria, and Viktoria likes the camera, so some nice results are chronicled below...

Good afternoon, V!

At Rock City, studying the doubtlessly archeologically significant carvings in the picnic table

No, I'm not strangling myself - this is my preppy fashion shot

Viktoria's much better at that sort of thing, even making my borrowed $9.95 sunglasses look like theis season's must-have accessory

At Artist's Point, it wasn't just the beautiful view... was the glorious silence and the acoustics of the rock walls and oak trees that impressed pro musician and composer Viktoria.

Blue dix in bloom

A nice pose, with our destination - the summit - in the background

V focuses her entire being on the moon, our scientific goal in just 2 hours.


This beautiful old rock castle sits at the tippy top of the mountain. The wide angle lens and perspective allowed me to wrap the warm building around our heroine.

The octagon room of stone and glass made for amazing resonances

Though we were late departing for our graze, it was hard to tear ourselves away from the incredible sound of Viktoria's singing in this room.

Time for a final contemplative moment, watching the sunset from the summit

After sunset, we hurried down the north side of the mountain to the entrance station, which is where the good stuff promised to be for the Delta Cancri graze at the end of twilight. We had no time to set up 2 stations, and it was just as well...

The angular shadow of Mt. Diablo projects out to the Central Valley

Setting up for the graze was... chaos! Captured well by Viktoria in this creative time exposure of me and my headlamp as I rushed around


Viktoria checks out the bright red star as it nears the lunar limb

Battery failure meant I had to do the graze visually....bummer. But it did look beautiful! 10 D's and R's! It would've been a classic if I'd been able to record it.







Graze site position: Long: 121 59' 37.62" Latitude +37 54' 09.94" Elevation: 344 ft., 0.40 miles south

Postscript - I accidentally taped over the graze, in recording the Metcalifa occultation a month later. Bummer! All data was lost. Just a memory now....