Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Post-Calstar 2014 Wrapup: Tuesday and Wednesday

I attended Calstar 2014 from Tuesday to Sunday.

Packing for these trips is becoming more of an exercise.  I only use the Prius to travel and so everything has to fit into the car.  There are a lot of small hiding places all over the passenger compartment.  I try to use every bit of space that I can.  For example, I put 1 gallon water jugs under the front seats.  I can easily fit 5 gallons of water in this space.  All the tarps and sheets for the tent go into the foot space in the back seat and the tent fits across the gap.




In the future, I'd like to get a roof-top pod for the Prius to hold the tent and clothes, allowing better management of things inside the car.  As it is, there is no room for a passenger or their supplies.

I arrived just after Rich Crall and then Carl Larson showed up a few minutes later.  Tuesday was spent setting up, polar aligning, and chatting in the quiet evening.  The skies were the clearest on that night compared to the rest of the weekend.  Super dark, very clear and steady.  I worked on some Acros and a couple of digital targets until 5 am.  The Prius purred every 30 minutes or so, depending on how cold the temperature dropped.

Wednesday morning Carl needed to change a battery on his AstroWagon.  This required dropping the battery box and removing most of the wiring.  The weather was nice, no wind, just enough sun to warm things up so that it wasn't chilly.




Acorns were dropping like bombs -- and they hurt when they hit!  The deer were emboldened because of the acorns and we gathered and tossed the extras to the animals when they got close.

Later in the day, people started to filter into the site.  Marek showed up early to set up his tent and unload the scope.  He wasn't able to return until Friday.  Setting up the gear early saved him a lot of time.  Phil Manela and Peter McKone also arrived on Wednesday.  Dan Wright showed up late that evening with the UHaul van.





Wednesday night was a bit of a bust.  It was super clear earlier, but clouded up shortly after 1 am.  Dan showed up a little after midnight and was able to see a few stars before they went away.  Without the stars, there was little reason to stay awake and I got some extra sleep.