2004 Astro Events

Jan 11 Sun morn 1:06am - Graze of 6.9 10s of 86- moon at Carrizo Plain. Results: I needed a road trip, and to scout for the Astro 28 class. Weather was perfect, WWV reception was not, but the graze was quite a show - 22+ D's and R's, 21 on tape... and no time signals. The scouting went well too - it's a stark and beautiful landscape.

Jan 25 Sun morn 12:21am - Astroid occultation; Gunila occults 9.1 star. Cabrillo is just north of northern limit but well inside uncertainty zone. Results: Plan "A" was to drive and camp at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in the center of the path, then drive south along the Big Sur coast and scout the Astro28L trip in October, but clouds convinced me to stay home.... until an hour before the event I saw a few clear areas open and hurried to Cabrillo Observatory, where alas I saw a miss. Here's the report.

Feb 1 Sun eve 6:01pm - Graze of 6.5 17s 83+ moon from near Salinas; I'll be driving home from a photo workshop in the desert and passing through about this time. Results: The phototrip was incredible. I drove back via Panoche Road and tried to observe the graze from Paicines. However, mid-layer clouds prevented me from seeing the star at all.

Feb 9 Mon midnight 12:28am - asteroid occultation of 11.6 star by asteroid Circe. This is a large asteroid with a tight error spread and we're right in the middle of the path. This is as close to a "sure thing" as we've had. Results: Success! But no video or digital recording. I resorted to old-fashioned protein detector and voice + WWV when things got too sticky trying to use the camcorder. A 30 second occultation, with 0.2 second accuracy. Here's the report.

Feb 24 Tue eve 7:47pm - Graze of 6.5 8s 22+ from Loma Prieta Road. The profile looks ideal, promising a good show. This is during the Astro 8A lab class - We're doing a little field trip for this one. Results: Clouded out! We stayed at the observatory.

Mar 20 Sat eve - An asteroid occultation triple header... 9:36pm - here's a "sure thing" asteroid occultation. Alauda occults a 10.2 reddish star high in a dark sky. A map showing the intersection of all 3 paths in the southern SF Bay area is here. Results: Success! Fog hit the coast, but Chris and I joined the SCAC at Bonny Doon Airport where I was able to see the Alauda occultation, timing it with WWV/tape recorder during an opening in the cirrus clouds. Here's the report.

Apr 5 Mon eve - A rare double shadow event on Jupiter; Io and Europa both transit and cast shadows on Jupiter. Results: Shahram, Chris and I converged at Cabrillo Observatory and got some video footage. Shahram used his Meade LPI while I used the 10" LX200 and our Canon camcorder. I'll post images at some point.

Apr 17 Sunday morn 5:17am - asteroid Tanete occults a 10.7 star along a path from Carrizo Plain due north over Lake Tahoe. Results: I did a weekend getaway for this, observing at next week's Astro 28K campsite for the event. A probable blink of 0.2 second was observed, matching up well with timings from others. Looks like I was at the very edge of the path. Here's the report.

Apr 23-25 - Astro 28K: "Field Astronomy at Carrizo Plain National Monument". This class will focus on the bizarre geology of this large, newly christened national monument, study comets T7 LINEAR and Bradfield, and spring galaxies. Results: Another great trip. See the post-trip page.

May 8 - photo session for Comet Q4 NEAT at Bonny Doon Airport with SCAC. Results: The comet is beautiful! Brighter than expected, fully magnitude 2.2 by my estimate, with a tail for about 8 degrees in 7x50 binocs. I took a ton of pictures, both film (Provia 400 slide) and also digital with Dimage 5. They'll be posted... eventually.

May 14-16 - Astro 28J: "Field Astronomy in the Southern Sierra: Comet Q4 NEAT". Results: Clear skies and a beautiful comet, asteroid occultation, big trees, geologic explorations. Check out the post trip highlights.

May 17 Mon eve 9:53pm - Occultation of a 11.5 star by the asteroid Berbericia. We're on the southern edge of the possible path. Later the same night, at 2:02am there's a much brighter event - the asteroid Kuopio occults an 8.6 star with the path right over Santa Cruz. Results: Chris and I tried Berbericia from Cabrillo Observatory, but I was not able to get the star focused in time. Didn't try Kuopio as it was too low from Cabrillo.

May 21-23- Astro 27: Field Astronomy at the Pinnacles. Our familiar Pinnacles class. Another great and education-packed trip, as always.

June 5 - Shahram, Chris Angelos and I drove to the meadow below Eagle Rock at the end of Empire Grade and spent the night photographing Comet T7 LINEAR, conveniently near Alphard in Hydra, but very low in the southwest after twilight, and then Comet Q4 NEAT, still 5th magnitude in the feet of Ursa Major. Check out our photo adventure here.

June 14-18: Astro 30 Summer Field Astronomy, at June Lake in the Eastern Sierra. Lots of geological explorations and astronomizing. Here's my photo-essay of the trip.

June 29-July 5: Rick's Big Asteroid Adventure! The annual IOTA meeting was held at Apple Valley in the Mojave Desert, with 3 asteroid occultations criss-crossing this area just before/during the meeting. These included: June 30 - occultation of 10.8 star by Helga. from near Carrizo Plain, July 1 - occultation of 8.6 star by Nanon, from near Big Bear Lake, and July 3 - occultation of 11.9 star by Angelina, from near Kramer Junction. Results: Check my photo-rich page on this trip here.

July 23 Fri eve 10:07pm - occultation of 11.5 star by Jarmila. A very narrow path, so nominal odds are iffy. But it's a weekend evening and the path crosses through Bonny Doon/Summit area, so we're doing it. Results: Chris Angelos and I drove up to Locatelli Meadow at the top of Empire Grade.... and saw a miss, described here.

July 28 Wed eve - 7th magnitude Comet K4 LINEAR passes less than 30 arcminutes from 9th magnitude globular cluster NGC 5466. Results: Shahram and I gambled against the weather and went for it. Check this link to see what happened.

Aug 2 Mon eve - Shahram and I met at the observatory. My goal was to get the STV working with the GM8 mount, but I left the manual at home. Gah! So, we both ended up focusing on comet photography. Shrahram shot with 300mm film on the GM8 and took a ToUcam sequence through the 500mm refractor. I worked at the 12" LX200 in the dome. Results - we got some interesting shots... check it out.

Aug 6 Fri eve 9:41pm - occultation of 11.7 star by Seraphina. Northern limit crosses Aptos so our odds are about 40% of an occultation. Results: Tentatively, a miss. Check the story here. Shahram was also along, photographing Comet K4 LINEAR and then galaxies. Karl brought his "Hands on Astronomy" class by this night too, and I showed the gang how our 12" CCD camera system work and neat stuff through the 10".

Aug 8 Sun eve 9:06pm- Occultation of 11.3 star by asteroid Stereoskopia. We're just above the northern uncertainty zone. Then at 1:03am - Occultation of 11.4 star by asteroid Misa, Santa Cruz is on the nominal southern limit. Results: Shahram and I drove to Locatelli Meadow in Bonny Doon for these, and a night of astrophotography. I'll post a page soon, with some photos.

Aug 11/12 Wed eve 10pm-~1am - Perseids Maximum. Results: Tammy, Jay, Karl, Garth, Shahram and I met at Loma Prieta School and saw a strong shower. We're optimistic that many of the numerous bright meteors showed up on film. Jay got some on video as well, such as this one. I'll post a special page soon.

Aug 13 Fri eve 7-10pm - Wine tasing / dinner and astro observing at Byington Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After a gourmet dinner and way too much wine, I gave a tour of the sky up on wedding hill before the fog came in. Some of my triathlon friends signed up and it was a really enjoyable evening.

Aug 20 Fri eve 9:48pm - Occultation of 9.7 star by Adzhimushkaj. Results: A last-minute dinner invitation from Mary at the very tippy top of Bonny Doon made for a nice evening just above the fog. However, all the dinner and socializing prevented a full-on videotiming set up, and I got it visually, described here.

Sept 4-6 - ImageQuest family camping and photography at Montana de Oro State Park. Saturday morning at 2am is an occultation of an 11.8 star by Camilla. The asteroid path itself touches CA near Yuma, but there is a large satellite orbit 600 miles from Camilla and while we don't know where the path for the satellite is. Results: A terrific trip with beautiful beach and astronomy weather. See the Camilla miss results here. I'll post many pictures from this classic sometime soon.

Oct 8-10 - Astro 28L class, designed around the beautiful graze of 46 Leonis (mag=5.4) on a 14% waning moon, and an occultation by the asteroid Jarmila from the Southern Big Sur. The lunar profile promises many events. Results: A great trip to Big Sur. See the highlights here. The Jarmila occultation was a miss; see the report here.

Oct 11 Mon eve 10:03pm - Occultation of an 11.9 magnitude star by 12.4 Liberatrix. Santa Cruz is on the southern limit. Results: The star was very faint, and could not be found at the 12". Astro 8A and 10 student Jessica C. and I spent an hour setting up the video recording equipment... for naught!

Oct 12 Tue eve 7:33pm - Occultation of 10.1 star by Zerbinetta. Cabrillo is inside the northern uncertainty zone. This is during Astro 8A class. Results: Success! A north shift of roughly a half path width. Got it at the Cabrillo Observatory 12", with help from Jessica C. See the report here.

Oct 27 Wed eve - Total Eclipse of the Moon, with first umbral contact at moonrise, and totality begins as it gets dark. Perfect conditions for astrophotography on the west coast. Results: The weather made it challenging, but me and the Astro 9'rs got some memorable pictures anyway.

Nov 3 Wed morn 12:54am - NICE graze of Upsilon Geminorum; 4.1 8N 67- 39alt from 5n Pinnacles. Result: Success! Read about it here.

Nov 13 Sat nite - Astro 9 photo trip to Mercey Hot Springs; rescheduled from the Oct 16 cloud-out. With the recent rains, the hills should be sprouting green and add to the beauty of the views from our site. I'll bring along the stove and keep us in hot chocolate and hot tea during the night as we photograph. Get inspired; check out last year's trip. Results: We had clear skies and got a lot of great photos on film. Check out the post-trip highlights.

Nov 20 Sat eve 8:14pm - Graze of 8.5 17s 70+ in Santa Cruz. Here's the profile. Results: Success! I set up on West Cliff Dr. near the lighthouse and got at least a D-R, maybe more when I review the tape. Couldn't convince anyone else to join me though. See the report here.

Dec 11 Sat eve - Shahram and I did an impromptu trip to Bonny Doon. He, to do some astrophotography especially of the comet. Me, to get practice using the STV and also some comet photography. It was a nice little mini photo-adventure! Here's a page I am putting together.

Dec 13 Mon eve 9:30pm - Geminids maximum, with no moon and 90/hr predicted rates. Here's a map to our observing spot. Our earlier plan to observe Sunday night was cancelled due to clouds. Here's a good web page on this shower and predicted rates. Results: A great evening of meteor and Comet photography. See the page I'm making on this trip.

Dec 18 Sat eve 6:30pm - Graze of 10.0 star 18s on 54+ moon at 51 deg altitude. Not brilliant, but I think it is do-able, and may be my faintest graze deliberately put on the schedule and observed, if successful. The profile is promising, and the graze is just a couple miles up Empire Grade road. Felton-Empire road is 1.1 miles north of the limit. Results: Success! Star was dim, but the seeing was excellent and the focus was sharp, and the star was clearly visible against the very faint earthshine. Multiple timings. Same part of the profile as the faint graze gotten from West Cliff last month, but without the north shift; so, a star position error?

Dec 20 Sun eve 8:11pm - Graze of 10.0 star from Cabrillo Observatory.Profile promises multiple events around the "R". 12" dome is 1.72mi N. More ideal would be at Dave & Di's house in Aptos, but I've got projects to do at the observatory, and maybe Shahram will join in for some comet photography too. Results: Success. Couldn't see a thing on the 10", so went in and mounted the PC164c on the 12" w/ f6.3 reducer. Saw star early, then lost it. Then got the final "R". No Shahram (went to Fremont I think). Got some tests done on why the blurry pictures on the ST7 + 12" too.

Dec 24 Fri morn 1:55am - Occultation of 11.8 star by Cheruskia. Combined image is 11.5. Solid path, centered on Pt. Reyes. 96% moon 51 deg away. This one is a sure-thing trip. Pt. Reyes is beautiful, and I need to do a scouting trip for the Astro 28P trip Fall '05. Results: Success! Got a ~1.5 second occultation from Pt. Reyes Hostel. Reductions are here. Gorged myself on Johnson's oysters, did lots of biking, scouting for the trip, and a ton of great photos of this beautiful place under perfect conditions. Enjoy my post-trip page.

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