WINTER STAR PARTY 2008
FEB 2nd - 10th, 2008, West Summerland Key, FL, USA.
Above: Sunset from the WSP site on West Summerland Key. A beachfront full of telescopes get ready to swing into action.
During February 2008 i travelled to the popular Winter Star Party hosted in the southerly US site in the Florida Keys. I was asked to give a talk at the event, so decided to spend the whole week there along with Veteran planetary observer Don Parker and friends. Weather was pretty much perfect for the whole week, aside from a few occasional brief cloudy spells. Don took his excellent Mewlon 10" f/12.5 and Paramount ME, and we were able to use this during the week to photograph and observe Mars.
The event is hosted on the eastern shore line of a small island in the Florida keys about 2/3 of the way down the island chain at around 24șN latitude. Seeing conditions are frequently excellent, and i also found this to be the case during my stay, with periods of excellent seeing occuring most nights. There is also a huge array of different telescopes of almost every type you can imagine, and its a great opportunity to look through telescopes you may not have done before, or are considering a purchase of a similar instrument.
During my week long stay, i enjoyed many fine views including some firsts for me such as the Horsehead nebula easily seen in a 25" F/5 dob with H-beta filter, and dramatic views of M42 and a rare Planetary nebula in Taurus. I also observed the famous and difficult companion to Sirius through three different telescopes, and also photographed it. The views of Mars and Saturn were also excellent, the best views of Saturn being through the Mewlon, a 12" F/7 Newtonian and a perfectly collimated C11.
This is a great friendly event, with a great atmosphere and for anyone who hasn't been i'd highly recommend it. Its a great opportunity to look through many different telescopes and meet a whole range of different people.
Sirius and Sirius B. Photographed using the Mewlon 10". I also observed the companion visually in the Mewlon, a TEC160 Apo and a C11 on this night..
Overview of the site. Telescopes clustered along the shorline during the daytime. The lecture house can be seen in the distance.
Yardscope. Next to the massive 36" F/5 dobsonian.
Sunset in Key West.
Mewlon 250 on Paramount ME ready for action.
Group Photo. From left, Sheldon Faworski, Tim Khan, Sean Walker, Me, Don Parker.
Don and Myself. Discussing something astronomy related no doubt, stood next to the massive 16" F/6 Newtonian. At right is one of Don's countless photographs, this one his excellent photographs of Jupiter on TP-2415 from back in 1990.
With Don's 16" F/6 Newtonian. With Don's famous telescope at his home in Coral Gables.
Mars on February 8th, 2008. Dia=11.21". Elysium is again well seen along with Propontis and Mare Cimmerium. Note the brilliant Orographic cloud over Olympus, Arsia and Pavonis Mons. 10" F/12.5 Mewlon.
Mars on February 7th, 2008. Dia=11.32". Elysium is well seen along with Propontis and Mare Cimmerium. Note the brilliant Orographic cloud over Olympus Mons close to the limb. 10" F/12.5 Mewlon.
Mars on February 5th, 2008. Dia=11.55". Elyisum and Syrtis Major are again prominent. Note the brilliant orographic cloud over Elysium Mons in the Blue light images. 10" F/12.5 Mewlon.
Mars on February 3-4th, 2008. Dia=11.66". Elyisum and Syrtis Major are prominent. Note the brilliant orographic cloud over Elysium Mons in the final Blue light image. 10" F/12.5 Mewlon.
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