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October 24, 2017

Nightfall - Borrego Springs Star Party

Borrego Springs has been awarded the Dark Sky Community Designation, the only city in California to receive the award.  Their cherished award can be viewed HERE.  The community is completely surrounded by the large Anza Borrego Desert State Park in all directions.  They continue to believe a dark night is a resource worth protecting.

We splurged and paid for a couple nights at the Palm Canyon RV Resort.  And lucked into the perfect spot to attend.  The view through the windshield is Riverside Astronomical Society setting up telescopes that will be open for public viewing.  Lots of the big Dobsonian telescopes, they travel well.
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A walk around the RV park gives an idea of how seriously these folks take their hobby.  There are literally hundreds of telescopes spread around the campground.
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This is a over/under solar telescope.  The upper spotting scope looks a lot like a standard spoting scope with a solar lens.  If the sun derides to do something interesting, the lower scope can be used to zoom in on that area of the corona.
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The theme this year was imaging with separate all day dedicated to a classroom associated with the various aspects.  The imaging scopes are easy to distinguish as they have a bunch of wires and no eye-piece.
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New this year is a swap meet in addition to the usual vendors.  Is $4,200 a good price for a CCD camera?  Or should I just pick up the beginner package for about half that?
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Here’s my little contribution to the party.  it is a Celestron 4SE, like most of the Celestron telescopes it is a Maksutov–Cassegrain, I found on Craig’s List.  With attached USB camera I can see the display on the computer (left window) of my PC.  I use Stellarium (right window) to see what is objects are available to enjoy.  Stellarium is free under the GNU license.  This makes a nice little grab-n-go package with tracking abilities.
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After a brief introduction by Borrego’s professional astronomer, Dennis Mammana we were turned loose to enjoy what was available in the night sky.

Interested in attending Nightfall?  It will be Nov 1-4 2018 the info can be found HERE.  I checked Stellarium and Saturn will be visible in front of the Milky Way...

We’ll look for the Blue Sun Cave on the way home.

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