2006 Astro Events

Jan 13 Fri morn 12:30am Occultation of 9.8 star by asteroid Ulla from along Big Sur Coast. Santa Cruz on northern limit. Full moon 65 degrees away. Results: I tried it from Cabrillo College - and a lucky shift gave me a successful 13 second occultation. Here's the report.

Jan 14/15 Sun morn 1:56am. The Stardust mission, returning from it's rendezvous with Comet Wild-2, re-enters the earth's atmosphere creating a -7 magnitude fireball above the northern horizon for us in the Bay Area. NASA is looking for videorecordings in order to calibrate meteor observations and also study the heat shield performance. Here's the website for more. Results. Disappointing. Read my report here.

Feb 10-12 Fri-Sun. ImageQuest photo workshop "Cultural Mirages: Route 66 and the Mojave Desert". I'll be helping with some instruction on this trip. Results: A great trip! A big group and a lot of talented nature photographers. I think I was able to hold my own and got some nice pictures. I'm putting together a page of my finished photographs.

Feb 15 Wed eve 10:57pm Occultation of 9.98 star by Zverev from Santa Cruz area. Thin path, wide uncertainty limit. 92% moon 41 deg away. Results: Observed a miss visually from Cabrillo Observatory.

Mar 8 Wed morn. Comet Pojmanski photo trip to Upper Meadow of UCSC. Results: Got a few shots through the cirrus; check my Pojmanski page.

Mar 31-Apr 2: Astro 28Q "Field Astronomy of the Eastern Sierra / High Desert". We're going to Red Rock Canyon State Park and study the Spring sky, examine local geology, search for ancient fossils, gemstones, and explore the bizarre story of Burro Schmidt and his tunnel obsession. Results: We escaped the rain, and had a successful trip - here's the photo highlights.

Apr 21-23 Fri-Sun: Our spring Astro 27 / Geo 27 field class to Pinnacles National Monument. Highlight will be observing Comet Schwassman-Wachmann 3 and the Lyrid Meteor Shower. Results: We had clouds much of the trip, but a fair amount of viewing on Friday, and a bit on Saturday. Here are some photos.

Apr 28-30: Astro 28R "Field Astronomy: Comets, Asteroids, and Condors" We'll re-explore Carrizo Plain National Monument, study Comet 73P Schwassman-Wachmann 3 as it continues it's break-up, and explore the San Andreas fault and tie it in to planetary science. Results: A really great group, and clear skies both nights. Here's the highlights.

May 3 Wed eve. 9:47pm. Graze of 5.9 star 16n of 40+ moon at 48deg altitude. It follows a path that seems tailor made to frustrate Santa Cruz Mtns observers. Results: Jay, Chris, Jonathan and I all made a valiant attempt; Read about it here.

May 7 Sun eve. Comet 73P Schwassman-Wachmann 3's brightest component passes right over the Ring Nebula at 8pm - beautiful good photo opportunity. If the weather's good, a quick trip to Bonny Doon or Coast Rd Resevoir By 11pm, the comet is 20 degrees up in the east and ready for photographing. Result: I drove up to UCSC and got some nice photos.

May 17 8:45pm - extra credit star party for my Astro 10 students, at the Observatory. Will last about an hour and a half. Results: It was clear, and we had a nice turnout. JC also came along, and set up his scope for some practice with the Meade DSI Pro.

June 2 Fri eve - ImageQuest - Family Camping trip in San Francisco. Results: This was a trip auctioned at a benefit for the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy. Dave Wyman, Irene, Richard, and I put it on, and had a great time for the winning families. We camped at Robb Hill Campground in the Presidio. Photos are linked here.

June 6 Tue morn 4:45am - Occultation of 10.9 star by asteroid Dido, from Santa Cruz. Karl and I will be watching it from his place. Results: Very tough, but it looks like I got the "R". Karl was observing with the other 8" scope beside me, but could not see the star. Report is here.

June 24 Sat/Sun - Astrophotography trip to the Oak Ridge Observatory near Castle Rock State Park. Chris Kitting and I converged for video imaging of Jupiter followed by deep sky imaging. It was a good night!

July 1-3 Sat-Mon - ImageQuest Quaking Aspen Family Camping Trip. Results: Another fantastic experience. I do love showing young people the sky. See the gallery here.

July 19, 27 - I did a pair of photo trips to Locatelli Meadow, photographing projects of mine along the summer Milky Way. Here's my page.

Aug 8 - Full moon, rising over the bay, from Lighthouse Pt, made for some iconic Santa Cruz photos.

Aug 17-20 Fri-Sun: Trip to Barcroft Laboratory at 12,500 ft in the White Mountains, for astrophotography with Bay Area amateur astronomers. Sunday morning at 12:30am, occultation of 5.6 magnitude rho-3 Arietis by Shurer, rising in the east. Odds are low, but try with binoc's. Results: A very successful and enjoyable trip. See the pix here..

Aug 27 4:30am Sun morn - Occultation of 6.9 star by asteroid Delia, from Pt. Reyes. High rank, odds 53% (maximum possible) near Mt. Vision. GoogleEarth path map. Star is near the open cluster M35 in Gemini. I plan to spend the weekend at Pt. Reyes, a little astronomy, some kayaking in Tomales Bay, and eat lots of Johnson's Oysters. Results: Another great trip, and after a desperate run to escape the fog at Pt. Reyes, success at Mt. Tamalpais for the occultation. Here's the post-trip page. And here's the occultation report.

Sept 1-3 Sat-Mon - ImageQuest Labor Day Family Camping Trip to Montana de Oro State Park. Also, the SMART-1 impact on the moon, worth videorecording, at 10:41pm PDT Sept 2 Saturday evening. Here's a blogspot. Results: A totally enjoyable trip, even though fog ruined any astronomy! Here's the post-trip photo page.

Sep 14 Thur morn - Spectacular graze of mag=1.7 Beta Tauri on a last quarter moon as dawn twilight is beginning, from Los Altos just off Hwy 280. GoogleEarth path map. Results: Our team saw a beautiful graze! Here's the photo page.

Sep 15 3:30am Fri morn - Excellent occultation of 10.1 star by Vibilia, from Big Sur to Mercey Hot Springs, wide path and high accuracy. Santa Cruz on northern limit. GoogleEarth path map. This is a "sure thing" event and will have other observers, so I do plan to get this. Results: Success! (barely). See the write-up.

Sep 16 Sat Eve - Night of astrophotography with the Astro 9 class at the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club gathering at Bonny Doon Airport. 9pm till... flame-out I suppose. Results: 6 of us got some nice photography done. Also got a good hour of integration on the North America Nebula the following night - here's the photo page.

Sept 22-24 Fri-Sun. Our Fall Astro 27/Geo 27 class at Pinnacles National Monument. Results: Two of the best astro nights ever. Clean dark skies, and a great bunch of students made this one a classic. Here's the highlights in pictures.

Sep 29-Oct 1 Fri-Sun - Astro 28S: "Field Astronomy in Hot Springs Country . A graze, and myriad delicious hot springs to sample, and volcanic landforms to compare/contrast with the other planets. Results: A memorable weekend. Here's the post-trip highlights and pictures.

Oct 18 Tue eve - My first chance to photograph 6th magnitude Comet SWAN in a dark evening sky. Comet is 23deg up with sun at -16 at 7:50pm. Results: Perfect clean skies with no moon. I got almost an hour in my photo stack. See the page I posted on this comet here.

Oct 19-22 Fri-Sun - ImageQuest Photo Workshop to the Eastern Sierra. Results: Incredible! The best yet. Even arriving a day late. So many pictures, the photoshop is still under construction - here's the photo page.

Oct 27 Friday - Astro 9 trip to Mercey Hot Springs...Results: didn't happen due to lack of turnout. However, I did an alternative photo trip up to Coast Road for what turned out to be a sublime evening. See for yourself!

Nov 8 Wednesday - Transit of Mercury. Astro 9r's are meeting at Sky Park in Scotts Valley for the 5 hour event, and there'll be plenty of time for entertaining a group of home school kids, and others who are at the park. Results - a big success! See the full download here.

Nov 23 Thursday - A solo astrophoto excursion to Coast Road Reservoir. Here's the photo page.

Dec 11 Mon morn - Occultation of 9.3 star by asteroid Eva. Results: I drove up to Montara Hostel to get into the path; 70% odds of success.... but still had a miss.

Dec 20 Wed morn - Occultation of 7.8 star by Perepadin, Poor rank, Santa Cruz on western edge, well inside uncertainty zone. Results: A successfully observed miss from Santa Cruz High School. Here's the report.

Dec 22 Fri eve - A photo trip to Coast Road Reservoir, aborted by an irritable nearby resident. But I did get one photo worth a look.