2005 Astro Events

Jan 7-13: Comet Machholz passes closest to Earth and is brightest and largest in the sky, and also makes close approaches to the Plieades and to the California Nebula. Weather permitting, these will make great photo opportunities. Results: Friday 1/7 was clouded out, but we did get 3 nights of shooting done.

Feb 5 Sat eve 8pm - Occultation of 11.8 star by asteroid Ate. Well defined wide path through San Luis Obispo and Mojave desert. Results: I brought the 10" and video gear along for a last-minute decision to join Image-Quest's photo workshop to the Cambria coast. I set up next to the Blue Bird motel in Cambria, but clouds, dead battery, and balky scope positioning all conspired. No data.

Feb 12 Sat eve 7:20pm - Nice graze of 88 Piscium; 6.0 10s 23+ moon from a couple of miles north of Pinnacles Campground turnoff, on Hwy 25 It's got a promising profile. The closest location is less than a mile from the Upsilon Gem graze site of Nov 3 '04. It's here, at 0.40mi north of the limit. Central graze there is at 7:24:09pm PST. Results: A big success! Despite almost turning around due to heavy clouds, I got 16 events videorecorded. The report is here.

Feb 23 Wed morn - 12:44am. Occultation of 10.9 star by asteroid Hypatia. Cabrillo is on the well-defined southern limit. Good prospect for mapping the asteroid using Bay Area observers. 99+ moon 62 degrees away, and the event is low in the west. Results: After Astro 8A class was done, I packed the 10" and drove up the coast to Coast Road Resevoir and... watched a miss. The report is here.

Mar 3 Thur 2-3am - Spectacular occultation of Antares on last quarter moon. Worth a special effort to video-record. Dunham etal will get the graze from near Cabo. Results: Well, I did get up and put together the 8" and video in my driveway in front of my apartment. But thick cirrus and forgetting the focal reducer meant I couldn't get the moon and the star in at the same time, so it didn't quite work. I snapped a few photos. Here's the result.

Apr 8-10: I joined Dave Wyman's ImageQuest Tours, helping with this photo workshop of the Carrizo Plain and surrounding areas. On Saturday afternoon I drove on south to the mountains above Acton to join friends and the asteroid occultations early Sunday. Results: Great trip, see the photo trip here, and I'll post the Acton pictures soon. The Salome and Bredichina occultations were both successfully observed misses, reported here and here.

Apr 15-17 : Astro 28M Field Trip Class. This one will be memorable! We have not one but two bright grazes: First, a spectacular graze of Upsilon Geminorum, mag 4.1, 12n 46+ moon 56deg altitude on Friday evening at 9:40pm. The path crosses just north of Mojave. We'll camp at Red Rock Canyon State Park in the Mojave Desert. Saturday night a 6.5 magnitude triple star grazes high in the sky from the same area. Results: Successes on both grazes, and a great weekend of astronomizing and geologizing. The post-trip is here.

Apr 29-May 1 : Our semi-annual Astro 27 / Geology 27 Field courses, held at Pinnacles National Monument south of Hollister. We'll have a new moon and dark skies this weekend. Results: Big success, great group. Clear skies on Friday, but didn't clear on Saturday till after a long cosmology talk around the campfire.

May 13-15: Astro 28N Field Trip Class. This one would be built around the asteroid occultation by Io of a 10.6 magnitude star from Big Sur or else Southern Sierra. The occultation is conveniently timed on Saturday evening. I'll be arriving on the way back from being a judge at the Intel International Science Competition in Phoenix earlier in the week. Result: Clear skies both nights, Jeff and my 10" LX200's got lots of deep sky objects, and plenty of geology, jade-hunting at the beaches, and swimming hole explorations. Io was a near miss though, after a small south shift. Here's the Post-Trip page.

May 29-31: ImageQuest Tours family camping trip to Montana de Oro State Park. This is a beautiful place I've been to many times with Dave Wyman. Result: perfect weather and a fun group. See the pictures here.

June 5 Sunday 1pm: Workparty at the observatory. Prime goal is getting the 12" back up, but also getting the BBQ area cleaned up, and install some more shelving, plan the "warm room" for remote scope control. Results: Will wait for Allen to return before tackling the 12" LX200. Thanks to Jeff, who helped with moving our new table for the remote operation of the scope, to Karl for building a shelf for the 10" LX200, and Jim for helping with organizing all our stuff.

June 10/11 Fri eve/Sat: Two asteroid occultations from Southern California. Occultation of 10.7 star by Austria, from Big Sur-Carrizo Plain at 9:56pm. Then Charybdis occults an 11.0 star from Carrizo Plain at 1:38am. Results: An excellent trip...except astronomically. Both were misses. The Austria event report is here, and for Charybdis here. Some nice photos and scouting for a future trip, described here.

June 18 Sat eve: Work party - Jay, Allen and I attempted to rebuild the 12" LX200. Unfortunately, I had a ribbon connector plugged in wrong when we tested it, and promptly fried the main board. We're back to Square One... no 12" for the moment.

July 3 Sun eve: NASA's "Deep Impact" smashed into C/Temple I, and we watched from Bonny Doon. Also, Venus and Mercury converged inside the Beehive Star Cluster. A good turnout and an cool spectacle - see the download here.

July 7, Thur eve: Shahram and I did a quick trip to Bonny Doon (Locatelli Ranch) for astrophotography. Check it out.

July 12 Tue eve: Shahram and I did an astrophotography trip to Cabrillo Observatory. It was... an education. See for yourself.

July 17 Sun eve 8pm: Occultation of Antares on 85+ moon, at sunset and in twilight. I drove to the top of Rodeo Gulch Rd. to videorecord. Here's what I got.

Aug 8-12: I attended a conference on galaxy formation and cosmology with the quaint title of "Nearly Normal Galaxies 2005". Excellent, and it's amazing the quality of the data now available.

Aug 12: I was guest of honor at Byington Winery's annual wine/cheese/astronomy evenint.

Aug 26 Fri eve 10:15pm: Occultation of 11.9 star (combined m=11.5) by asteroid Asterope. 34deg altitude, from wide path through central/Southern California. Santa Cruz on northern limit. Google map. Results: Observed from up Hwy 1 a bit, and had a miss. check out the travelog here, and the observing report here.

Sept 17 Sat: Scouting trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument and Hi Mountain Condor Lookout. Photo's include the first shots from our SBIG ST2000XCM CCD camera.

Sept 30-Oct 2: Astro 28P "Field Astronomy at Mt. Lassen/Hat Creek Radio Observatory". We're reprising our excellent Astro 28H trip to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, and to tour UC's Hat Creek Radio Observatory, where astronomy at radio wavelengths is done. Results: Another big success! Check out the highlights page full of photos.

Oct 7/8 Fri/Sat: Weather permitting, this is our weekend for the Fall Astro 9 dark-sky field trip to Mercey Hot Springs. The highlight is a very close conjunction between the 20% cresent moon and Antares. Results: Me, Shahram, Stephanie, and Karl enjoyed a night under the stars - see the post-trip page.

Oct 22 Sat: An impromptu trip to Bonny Doon for astrophotgraphy. Turned out to just be me, at Andy and Mary's. A good trip and some good pictures. See it here.

Oct 29 Sat: Shahram and I joined the SCAC at Bonny Doon Airfield and spent all night doing astrophotography. Here's the results.

Oct 31 Mon: Jay, Jonathan and I converged at Switchback Flat in Bonny Doon for Mars photography. Here's what we got...

Nov 5 Sat: Astro 9 Dark-sky trip #2. This time, to the Peninsula Astronomical Society's Oak Ridge Observatory. Me and Eric, and Chris and Jeff Buell were the participants.

Dec 3 Sat: I did a trip to LA for a wedding, and stopped at Carrizo Plain National Monument for a night of astrophotography. Some challenges, but I did get a couple good hours of shooting done before dawn. Check it out.

Dec 16-18 Fri-Sun: A kayaking trip to Pt. Reyes National Seashore with friends. Wet and fun!

Dec 23-25 Fri-Sun: I'd planned a Christmas adventure doing grazes and an asteroid occultation, with the Spica graze Christmas morning from Oregon being the highlight. But bad weather made me cancel. Turns out from a little farther east, in Utah, weather cooperated. Patrick Wiggins got a videorecording of a spectacular graze with 18 events stepwise events. This .avi is 10 meg, so beware. I did get up for hopefully try a photo or two of the close conjunction here. near-holes in the fog inticed me to get in my car at 5am and drive up to the top of Bonny Doon...where the fog was worse. By the time I got home, it was totally socked in, and later it started to rain.

Dec 28 Wed eve: I drove up to Horticulture Hill to get some video footage of Venus near inferior conjunction for stacking. Here's a page on the results.