ImageQuest Family Camping Trip - Quaking Aspen, Sequoia National Monument

July 1-3, 2006

Dave Wyman and crew put on another great adventure for the San Diego Natural History Museum. I brought along the Megrez 80mm f/6 Super APO refractor and did a group observing session on Saturday night for an enthusiastic group of parents and kids. I showed them the moon, Jupiter, star clusters, nebulae, red giants and binary stars. And, I gave them the story of Apothis, the asteroid on a possible collision course with the earth on Friday the 13th later in the century. The rest of the weekend, I had fun peppering kids with bits of flotsam and jetsam, all accompanied by shouts of "asteroid impact!". Weather was perfect 7600 ft high in the Sierras, and the waxing cresent moon set early enough to promise hours of late night astrophotography of the summer Milky Way. Black skies, a green meadow of wildflowers, and all night to capture the beauty of the universe - what more could one want?

Dave's own web page for this event includes some of my own photos, as well as his.

Breakfast featured "Joe's Special" scrambled eggs. And, what's the incredible best-seller on the table?

My most enthusiastic astro-kid, getting amped up on hot chocolate

bagel 'n cream cheese


Breakfast is happy time

Our Leader and his trusty mastiff

I'm ready for my close up, Dave

Our Leader... conked out

Mosquito spray was de rigour

Meadow flowers

"Peace", and hang loose

"My God, it's full of stars..."

Saturday night astrophotography after midnight: 5x5min stack of the Lagoon Nebula. ST2000xcm CCD camera at prime focus through the Megrez 80mm f/6

3x5min stack of a dark nebula above M7 in Scorpius, through the Megrez

8x5min stack of the Trifid Nebula, through the Megrez

2x5min stack on M22 in Sagittarius, through the Megrez

Paige, into her wind-up...

...eye on the ball

...and a more cerebral moment

Fresh greens get the personal touch

"Hey. No dealin' off the bottom of the deck"

I win!

Sunday night I was pretty tired, and ended up sleeping till 3:30am. Only time for a little astrophotography before dawn...

The North America Nebula; 50mm f1.8 Zuiko lens stopped down to f/5.6. Contrast and saturation adjusted in Photoshop. No cropping.

Open cluster M6 through a stand of firs. Single 60 second exposure through the Megrez refractor

The Scutum star cloud setting behind firs on the edge of the meadow. Very short exposure - note the sharpness of the tree on this autoguided shot, and note the resulting digital noise