Goldendale Star Party

This weekend, a few members from the Seattle Astronomical Society held an unofficial star party out near Goldendale, WA.  Since I didn’t get the chance to take on the Table Mountain Star Party a few weeks back, I was determined to make this event.  It was an easy sell on the homefront as well, what with the vineyards in nearby Yakima. 🙂

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Tons of Messiers were knocked out, and now I’m ready to apply for the Messier certificate from the Astronomical League.

That’s 31 new Messier objects, bringing my total up to 98 out of 110.  The remaining 12 will have to wait until the dead of Winter and one or two left until Summer of 2009. 

Finally, some of you (ok… really just Michael) have asked me to post pictures of my observing.  I’ll post a picture here of the telescopes set up for the star party, and I’ll also note that I’m taking donations to buy gear to hook up to my telescope for observation photos. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Goldendale Star Party”

  1. (ok… really just Michael)! HeHe 🙂

    Glad to know the message got conveyed!

    Come on the photo-rig cannot cost that much. Just the connection from the scope to you digital SLR. How expensive can it be?

  2. @Michael
    The scope to dSLR is easy – but the problem is that dSLR’s are not good for doing astro imaging. They’re way to noisy, and not sensitive enough to the right wavelengths of light (specifically the IR filters on dSLRs actually kill a good deal of the red light as well). Some people have modified their dSLRs to remove the IR cut filters, but I’m not that bold. Other challenges include it being practically impossible to focus the telescope while looking through the camera – the dSLR eyepieces are very dim and not very large, so it’s hard to make out even bright stars.

    Now, for a real astro imaging setup you need:
    * A good monochrome astro cam (a cheap one being around $750)
    * A good filter wheel set (to bring color to the images, you take multiple images in monochrome against different colored filters and put them together)
    * A good guidecamera (since you’re taking photos that are minutes or hours long, you have another smaller camera that watches one star, and controls your telescope to move when the star moves – these are around the $250 range

    Don’t believe me? Check this site.

    So, you see, it’s really around a minimum investment of $1k. 🙂 (I’m neglecting the cost of the software to control all of the above, which also isn’t cheap)

    -M

  3. I feel enlightened now! Didn’t know that the digital camera’s sensivity was subpar. I figured it would be better than traditional film and over a greater wavelength range. I knew about the scope controls using either a guide camera or other tracking tech.

  4. Plus I am just giving you a hard time. Hope you can win the money in Vegas while we are there for my birthday!

  5. @Michael
    Hah! to win that money, I’d have to also recoup the costs of the airfare and hotels. BTW – you guys will be coming to Seattle for our birthdays next year, yes? 🙂

    Digital camera’s sensitivity is about on-par to traditional film, but the camera manufacturers install glass filters over the CCD that destroys the IR/UV ranges – it’s because in normal day-to-day use it degrades quality. It’s a deal-breaker in astro terms, though.

  6. http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/QUICK2.HTM

    Check this out – might give you some tips that may work on your camera. Maybe I will buy you the Tube and T-mount for your birthday! Plus you guys are not reaching a major milestone in births yet. You and Diann will not be turning 40 and Diann has not given birth to any nieces or nephews yet. You two need to get busy and quit looking at the sky all night.

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