MAS Sept 21st 2001 Starparty

Six portable telescopes supplemented the observatory's 16" cassegrain, providing guests views of Mars, and many fall deep-sky favorites.

Early guests also enjoyed a slide show inside the observatory presented by MAS's birthday girl Jackie.

Thanks to Mike Kibat, Dave Olmstead, Jackie LaVaque, John Connery, Ben Huset, John Treadwell, Tom Youngblood, Deane Clark and other MAS volunteers who contributed to the success of the star party conducted for members of MAS and the public.


(Click on any thumbnail to see a larger 768x512 JPEG image)

Onan with Star and Airplane trails

Onan with Star trails. John Connery's scope in foreground.

Onan with Star trails and cloud wisp.

Onan with Star and Airplane trails

testing new red lites

Packing up under white lites as seen from parking lot

9/21 Onan Public Night Report

Remember when you were in your early twenties, and you could judge how good last night's party was by the mess that greeted you first thing in the morning? Cans and cups strewn about. Things not put away, but pretty much left right where they were last used. And that groggy, uncertain feeling that you can't ever recall morning arriving quite as early as it did this morning? And what day IS it, anyway?

Well, given that's how I started my day today out at the Onan Observatory, then it's official -- the Onan public event last night was a BLAST!

We were pleasantly surprised to see clear skies develop promptly at sunset and continuing on until midnight. Before the sun set, we observed a large number of sunspots -- more than any of us had expected. Many spots were obviously paired with another, and there was a large area of many, many small spots just coming around the limb. If it stops raining in the next couple of days, make an effort to take a look -- it's quite a sight.

Had a number of visitors -- three or four families, some couples, an individual or two. We had many telescopes running as well. In addition to the observatory's three telescopes (the 16" Cassegrain, the 10" LX6 and the 90mm ETX), the MAS 6" Dobsonian loaner scope was on hand, as were a couple provided by several members who joined the public event team.

Many shooting stars were noted throughout the evening, with more than a few sharing a roughly common direction and altitude. (I can't find my Otwell calendar at the moment -- any meteor showers scheduled around this time?)

The Larson scope provided visitors with nice views of the Atlas / Hercules pair of craters, Messier and Messier A, crater Janssen, and many other points of lunar interest. Deep-sky objects weren't limited to old favorites such as M13, M81/82 and M27, but included my first-time ever observation of the Helix Nebula. Of course we looked at Mars, and glanced at Uranus, but we shut down the evening before Jupiter and Saturn got into a favorable position.

Sometime after 12:30 I joined my first-grade son who had crashed around 10:30, and I retired to Baby Bear, where we had placed our pads and sleeping bags on the nice built-in bunks.

All in all, a wonderful night! Thanks to the many MAS'ers who stopped by, and especially to those who were members of the public night team!


Mike Kibat

Photos (C) by Ben Huset 9/2001 shot on Kodak GT 800 film 28mm f2.8. Exposures range form 1 minute to 1 hr.

Last revision Sept 23, 2001
by Ben
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