4th Annual Lassen Star Party

1997 July 3-6

Just a few thoughts about our weekend at Lassen:

It was great to see so many participants this year; I believe Mark W. said that he counted at least 38 scopes, representing almost the entire spectrum of size and type. Considering the growth in popularity of the 4 Lassen Star Parties thus far, we may soon be required to use both Devastated Area and Bumpass Hell just to accomodate all the participants and their scopes.

Looking back on it, I'm glad I/we decided to go to Bumpass Hell on Sunday night. The weather was mild and relatively breezeless (compared to Devastated Area), and to my delight I was able to work a part of the sky heretofore unavailable to me: the Corona Australis constellation south of Sagittarius. I had no trouble locating the beautiful 7.3 magnitude Globular Cluster NGC 6723 (really worth finding, for all you Glob-Lovers out there) right next to both a small Diffuse Nebula (IC 4812) and a larger Dark Nebula (NGC 6726). Delightful........

I was also able to locate 3 galaxies in Lyra; one of my comrades (I don't recall who) seemed surprised to hear that there were any galaxies there at all (they're all in the 12.5 - 13.5 magnitude range).

The view of the Crescent Nebula, first through Rod Norden's 18" Obsession, and then my own 16" Night Gems DOB, was very impressive. And then there was the Veil Nebula, both filtered and unfiltered.........need I say more?

Regarding Bumpass Hell's southern view, it is now my considered opinion that the light dome I/we observed was emanating from Chico, due to the direction of the dome (although it's hard to imagine a relatively small town like Chico putting out that much light)..........

So far I haven't been able to verify the rumor which circulated through the campsite that a dam had burst on the Feather River (or anywhere in that area). Nothing in the papers or on the TV news that I could find; so I'll relegate it to the circular file for now (if anyone has any info on it, please pass it on).

Soft skies notwithstanding, I feel that the weekend was a complete success; ergo, I'm already anticipating next year's outing (I'm certain many others are, as well).

This weekend seemed to fly by so quickly -- one minute I'm unpacking, and the next minute I'm leaving. I guess I'm going to have to learn to enjoy these star parties a lot less so that they'll SEEM to last longer............. ;-)

[Sunday] was the best of the 4 nights. No wind (just a mild breeze now and then), a chunk of light dome from Chico, et al; but I was able to do some serious viewing in the Corona Australis constellation south of Sagittarius with no problem. The rest of the skies were equally clear and easy to work. Perhaps we ought to consider Bumpass more seriously next time............:-)

Jim Bartolini; last updated: 1997 July 9