The Lambda Cancri Graze Fiasco

May 4, 2006

Well, we got no data, but we did spend some gas money so I'm writing it up just the same. After most of a year without a club graze, this one actually got some interest - from Karl, Chris Angelos, Jonathan, and Jay. Fog threatened, so plans only came together at the last minute. The path went from Montara to Castle Rock and on to Watsonville. The marine layer seemed to top out at 2,000 ft, and sites along Bear Creek Rd at 2200 ft looked like they would work. I met Chris at the observatory, and got on the web and checked the latest satellite images just before packing the scope... and saw that the marine layer had deepened to 3100 ft. Just then, Jay called on the phone inside the dome, and we spent the next 20 minutes going between Derek's google-earth projected path and trying to find a site high enough. Fog went right to the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, following Skyline Drive... just like the sealevel northern limit did. Unfortunately, we needed to be on the coastal side of this line by 1 km. It looked very sketchy, but Jay and I were both game for a little adventure, and so was Chris. There was one possible site that might work - at Castle Rock State Park. It would require a bit of a north shift, and the fog would have to retreat just a bit. I told Chris to meet me at the Pasatiempo park'n'drive lot... and then promptly missed the turnoff in my rush to get to the site before it was too late. It looked grim.. all the way. Overcast, and then in the soupy fog with a strong on-shore wind. I ran into Jay as he was driving the other way, at Castle Rock. We pulled into the parking lot with 15 minutes to spare, and could see the moon briefly and heavily obscured. We pulled out the binoculars and hoped for a miracle which didn't come. So, we visited a bit, Jay showed me his solar eclipse video, we snapped a few pictures, and that was that.

Proof we really did drive all that way in the fog

Jay preparing to show me his solar eclipse video

That's about as good as it got why did I bring all this stuuufffff??