4th Annual Lassen Star Party

1997 July 3-6

I'm not red-eyed, and I feel pretty refreshed after a good nights sleep. The short report is (I know you'll get some long ones) Fun group, warm days, not too cold nights (I've been colder at FP) very dark and transparent skies - great for faint fuzzies, poor seeing - not good for splitting doubles or viewing planets, too many people leaving the site early without back-up light warnings. I can't imagine why you'd go all the way out to Lassen, wait until 10:30 for it to get dark enough to observe, and then pack up and leave by 12:30. To each his/her own. :-)

I mostly did photography with a Yashica MAT 124 G and some of the new Kodak Pro 1000 film in 120 format. Wide field piggyback stuff. I also finally got the hang of star drfting to align my equaorial mount. It makes a big difference when guiding! The skies are very dark and the Milky Way jumps out at you. The dark nebulae are also prominent and really help the stars blaze out in contrast. If I get anything good I'll add them to my web page.

Other than just being at Lassen and enjoying the dark skies, the viewing highlight for me was the crescent nebulae in Cygnus. Of course EVERYTHING looks good there! Many others had observing lists and programs to get through, and I pretty much heard about observing success. John Kuklewicz made up a wonderful observing packet for everyone. It has lots information. I haven't had time to digest the entire packet, but it is something that I will keep and use for a long time. Thanks again John!

Funniest moments - chatting about what to do on the public night and how to answer the usual questions "How far can you see with that?", "How much did that cost?", "I used to be into astrology..." How far away is that?". We decided that all the M objects designated miles, in order of distance. M1 is one mile away, M2 is two miles, etc. NGC stands for "Not Generally Close". The usual silly stuff when you're working on sleep deprivation. :-) I guess you had to be there.

Most interesting scope - I am SOOO bad at remembering names, but a very nice guy had a 22 inch dobsonian on an equatorial mount that he manufactures. Beautiful images and a beautifully made mount. I believe you can find his ad through the TAC web page.

This post turned out longer than I anticipated, but I had a great time and wouldn't hesitate to go again. A great amount of thanks goes to Mark and Pat Wagner for organizing this trip. Thanks again!!!

Richard Navarrete; last updated: 1997 July 15