A little late in getting this posted. I tried to provide an update while still at Cherry Springs, but the wireless internet connection there is very sporadic and finicky. The few times it works, we're often focusing on getting the latest weather reports.
Any way... we had another good contingent turn up at Cherry Springs. Matthew and his wife Janice, Les and his wife Terri, Ed, Jim, John and myself were all there representing the HAA. We also met a number of other Canadians from the Niagara and the Bolton areas at the event.
We were blessed with clear skies from Wed to Sat night. As the week wore on, the skies took a little longer each evening before becoming clear, but they did get good every night. It was one of our best visits with respect to clear skies and the ability to observe each night.
The usual schedule ran with presentations on Fri and Sat. The keynote speaker Sat afternoon was David Eicher from Astronomy Magazine - not surprising he was very good. They held a public observing night Sat evening in which many area residents, and those from much further away came to enjoy the skies. A good selection of vendors were on hand and it was probably one of the best years for door prize donations - so lots of prizes to be won, but sadly none by me.
I didn't get a lot of imaging in for various reasons, but one evening I did a bit of an experiment. I set up my DSLR with a fish-eye lens and an electronic timer to take a shot every 10 minutes over the course of the night. I combined the shots into a time-lapsed video showing the Milky Way as it marched across the southern sky over 6 hours. The link below should open the video in another window with your default video player (at least I hope it does).
Milky Way video
I also had a second purpose in attending. This year I had been asked to do a presentation. Wanting to do something a bit different and new, I combined my astronomy with my other hobby of amateur radio, and talked about amateur radio astronomy. This was an introductory presentation, mostly talking about some simple ways to get started and some kits available to go a step further. I also briefly highlighted some of the more advanced methods one can pursue if time and money permit. It appears to have been well received and I had a lot of fun doing it. One of the perks is that they pay for your registration and provide a small honorarium which I donated to the Dark Sky Fund.
I think I can safely speak for everyone who attended and claim it was one of the best star parties at Cherry Springs in quite a few years. A lot of fun. Don't forget we get a chance to repeat it in Sept with the Black Forest Star Party.
Update: I got a note from Larry McHenry which some of you will know from the Kiski Astronomy club near Pittsburg we often meet while at Cherry Springs. He posted a PDF report of the event. You might enjoy the read and additional photos he included links to.
Cherry Springs Report
Well, the transit was a great success! Several members of the club made their way to Kincardine while about 15 of us decided on the Binbrook Conservation Area. A large selection of scopes were set up both on the hill and down by the dock. Quite a few pictures were taken of first and second contact and nobody moved far from their scopes during that period. Once Venus was completely on the sun's disk, everyone moved around and enjoyed views through some of the other scopes. For me, I think that the biggest moment came when Venus' atmosphere became visible as a thin arc against the blackness of space. It made it more 'real' for want of a better word and as John pointed out, this was only recorded for the first time in 2004. I was also blown away by the views through the hydrogen alpha scopes that were there. In the double stacked scope you could see flares arcing up not only on the edge of the sun, but also on parts of the face. The 3d effect was amazing! All in all we have been treated with 2 great events in just a couple of weeks. The best lame solar eclipse I can remember seeing and the Venus transit both through my scope and many others.
Tuesday, June 5th started out overcast with rain threatening but the clouds started breaking up in the afternoon, just in time to set up equipment and prepare for the transit event that started about 6 pm local.
My setup was an 11" SCT with binoviewer and a separate 4" apo, both with appropriate solar filtering, of course! Passers-by saw the telescopes on the front lawn and stopped off for a view of the planet Venus in silhouette against the sun. Every few minutes a thick cloudwould hide the view in the 4" apo, but the big telescope was largely undaunted, and a binoviewer gave a 3-D like view of Venus and several sunspot groups.
Therese took some handheld snapshots, one of which follows:
Therese - hand-held shot through 32mm Tele-Vue eyepiece on 11 inch Nexstar SCT
This is just a personal note and FYI, it's not an official club notification. I was asked to notify HAA members and others who may have been interested in attending.
Some of you are aware that the Hamilton Centre of the RASC had planned an event for the astronomy community called AstroCasm. This was to entail a daytime swap meet with vendors, plus a banquet in the evening.
Regrettably due to a major problem at the venue, the swap meet that had been planned, has been cancelled. The banquet is still scheduled to occur at a new location. Those with tickets should have been notified separately. Details can be found at the link provided.
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