4th Annual Lassen Star Party

1997 July 3-6

I had a great time at Lassen! Thanks to all who helped to make it so!

As others have commented, I also spent much of my time simply gawking naked-eye at the "Big Picture" offered by the locale. At one point I sat on the ground for over 45 minutes just leaning up against my car's bumper and taking in all the wide-field detail and beauty around the core of our Milky Way. Much of the rest of my time was spent looking through my 10x50 binos and seeing new detail in "old, familiar objects".

I think my telescope saw most of its use on the public night during which there were always between 2 and 10 people standing in line (until about midnight). The public seemed very interested in what they were seeing, and I had numerous questions about "how to get started" and "what to buy as a gift for..."

I experienced way too many "observational highlights" to list here, but some of the best were had at the Bumpass Hell parking lot on Sunday night. These include a rock-steady view of Jupiter and some really good moments of a rising Saturn (unfortunately both happened after others had packed and left). The images were better than I recall having seen even through some of the large refractors that frequent Fremont Peak. Given that the views through my SCT were so nice, I can't even imagine what a high-end refractor would have shown up there at Bumpass that night!

Daytime offered a lot of enjoyment, too. Kings Creek Falls was a nice view, and the birding hike was really great. In fact, I took my family on a hike there the next day, and was able to point out much of the same list of birds we saw the prior day (less the red-headed baby coot, but plus the slightly older coots that had already lost their red).

I guess the low point of the trip was the fact that my astrophotography equipment was all sitting at home with my broken camera body :-( But to make up for that, I bought a nice Vixen camera body from another astronomer and will be ready the *next* time I go up there.

And I'm already thinking about when that "next time" will be!!!

Mark Taylor; last updated: 1997 July 9