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 Mulberry Mountain / AOAS Star Party
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bobmoody
 Thursday, June 05 2008 @ 05:28 pm EDT  
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I know I'm whining, Eric. It just gets old hearing complaints when those complaining don't lift a finger to make any difference on their own. But I shouldn't have aired my frustrations on this forum. It was purely to try and help folks to understand that to have anything be as good as it CAN be, lots of helping hands have to share the load.

If Joe and I make it up the mountain, we'll probably wait until Saturday for the skies to clear. I REALLY hope it clears off by Saturday night. I want to see the sky from up there again, and with a telescope this time. When we went in April, I was just too tired to setup my scope or to even step outside to look through Leonard's. I think I was in bed by 9:30 that evening. We're both keeping our fingers crossed that the storms don't do any kind of damage to the lodge or the campers, and we'll try to be there by Saturday afternoon.

Check out the Dover Lodge where Roy Clingan and friends from the Texarkana area will be staying. I'm sure you'll all enjoy visiting with them. And I'm sure they'll go ga-ga over your telescope, Eric!


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nspace01
 Thursday, June 05 2008 @ 06:30 pm EDT  
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I have everything ready...................I will be there sometime tomorrow afternoon........

Edwin Jones, an active amateur astronomer from the Springdale area, is suppose to be camping in the RV Park in Spot #51, I think........I think Bob and a few oldtimers may know him.

Eric..........I plan to spend both nights.......If it is storming Friday night, can I campout in your cabin living room? Eek! I don't snore too loud. Laughing Out Loud What is you cabin #.


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ejbragg
 Thursday, June 05 2008 @ 07:03 pm EDT  
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Thanks, guys.

Hey, Leonard.

I'd love to welcome you in, but I'm afraid we're having a very full house! Frown All couples with our own rooms; even the living room w/ hide-a-bed is in use for the night. It would be a little awkward sticking you in a room with one of us - not good brownie points, as far as our wives are concerned!

Rain check?
Doh! That was a bad choke! Er... I mean joke.


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array." - Genesis 2:1, NIV
 
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kedi151
 Thursday, June 05 2008 @ 07:05 pm EDT  
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Update,

It looks like I will have to work at least half the day Friday so depending on the weather and how quick I can get free from work, I will show up late Friday evening or sometime Saturday. I will bring my own burger since it sounds like they have all been given away.

Hope to see everyone there and I will try not to say anything to get Bob fired up again.

later


Kenny
 
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nspace01
 Thursday, June 05 2008 @ 10:55 pm EDT  
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I think all the cabins have BBQ Grills.................

I'll sleep in my car in the worse case and in my tent if possible..........I am bringing Hot Dogs...........and Marshmellows, in case I find a camp fire.


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bobmoody
 Friday, June 06 2008 @ 12:15 am EDT  
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HA!

Good one, Kenny. You're not anyone I was talking about. No one on this entire drawn-out post is as a matter-of-fact, so, go figure? I'm not saying who they were. And Leonard, if you DO have to stay in your tent, just remember that a shallow ditch is much safer than the wide-open flat ground. It just may not develop to be as serious as we first heard.

If 40/29's weather forecast turns out to be more accurate, there may be a partially clearing sky on Friday. It also looks much better on Saturday, too. Drew Michaels is giving the worst weather passing farther to the north than Garrett is, so we'll hope that's the way it turns out.

And BTW, Drew Michaels is starting a semi-regular topic of astronomy for his weather forecasts starting either tonight, June 5, or next week on a clear night. Each time he uses a topic from our new "Astronomy from your Backyard" forum section, he'll end his mention with a plug for AOAS!!! Looks like we'll be getting our message out a little more frequently for at least a while and hopefully for a LONG time. We'll have mutual links to our website between us in a day or two.

See ya'll soon!
Bob and Joe and family


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ejbragg
 Friday, June 06 2008 @ 08:41 am EDT  
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Quote by: kedi151

Update,

It looks like I will have to work at least half the day Friday so depending on the weather and how quick I can get free from work, I will show up late Friday evening or sometime Saturday. I will bring my own burger since it sounds like they have all been given away.



Hey, Kenny,
Glad to hear it! See you there.


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array." - Genesis 2:1, NIV
 
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ejbragg
 Friday, June 06 2008 @ 08:54 am EDT  
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By the way, thanks for the info n the cabin grills, Leonard. Does anyone know about the site near where we'll set up?


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array." - Genesis 2:1, NIV
 
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nspace01
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 01:39 pm EDT  
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I wolud like to thank everyone that contributed to make the ist annual Mulberry Montain Star Party a successful event.

Fridy night was a little drab with only a few people and 4 or 5 scopes set up, due to the clouds and a threat of rain. I think we had aout 20 or so people observing the moon and visible planets, through the ocasional cloud holes.

Around midnight the sky cleared. By 2 am, you could not have asked for better dark sky conditions. I got the best shots of Jupiter I could have ever imagined with my Sony Digital and 10" SCT..........Kenny was a great inspiration. (Once I figure it out, I will post some of them on this forum.) I could see numerous Deep Sky Objects through my 100mm binos and had the best veiws ever through my SCT.

Saturday was mostly cloudy, muggy and Hot with a nice little afternnoon shower that added to the humidity. Chuck and his wife had a little problem with tent leakage, but his bedding didn't suffer too bad.

At about 5:30 we set up and had a pot luck hamburger and winnie roast...........This was a wonderful feast. Eric's brother in law has a way with a grill. First time I ever had avocado an a hot dog............pretty good.

The hot air balloons flew both nights......pretty impresive...........the wind caught one Saturday evenning and blew it into a barbed wire fence, but I didn't hear if there were any injuries.

Saturday evenning started out partly cloudy but cleared by around 9. We have 12 or 13 scopes setup, ranging from a 16" Dob to a 60mm refractor. I estimate we had about 100 people observing. By 10, the perfect dark sky was back.

Eric and I had a great demonstration and hands on use of several Telvue eyepieces from a expert from the Spingdale area (I forget his name) Some of the eyepeices cost more than my scope, but, my gaud, what veiws.................Like looking out a space ship porthole.

I setup my 35mm camera piggiback on my 10" SCT/ASGT and took a






nSpace01
 
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nspace01
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 02:10 pm EDT  
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CONTINUE...................

I setup my 35mm camera piggiback on my 10" SCT/ASGT and took about twenty wide view shots of Cygnus, Sagittarius & Scorpius star feilds, ranging from 1 minute to 10 minutes. If any come out, I will post some on this forum.

I am still very impressed with Eric's new Dob..............The best veiws ever of the Amdromedae Gallaxy, the Trifid and Lagoon Nebs. (WOW Eric, WOW) Eek!

Eric and I finally called it a night (or Morning) about 5am.

Thanks EVERYONE for a wonderful show. Laughing Out Loud


nSpace01
 
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nspace01
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 02:13 pm EDT  
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Bob, I am sorry you could make it due to your back.... Frown .....We missed you and several asked about you.........You missed a good one.


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LME
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 07:05 pm EDT  
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Hey Leonard,

Sounds like y'all had a really great time! I hated to have missed it.

Larry


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ejbragg
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 07:25 pm EDT  
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"That guy" I believe you're referring to, Leonard, was Elliot. He contained quite a bit of knowledge about building telescopes. There was another electrical engineer who loaned me a couple of his TeleVue eyepieces as well!! Very high quality company, I must say! I received many compliments on my telescope (thank you all), but am embarrassed about my one and only eyepiece, which I lost shortly before the event. So I officially now have NO eyepiece. If it weren't for those of you lending me your eyepieces, the telescope would have been useless.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We had burgers, Chuck and Loretta brought brats, Leonard brought hot dogs, and there was a myriad of desserts and side dishes. I left quite stuffed and had to keep drinking coffee well into the night, thanks to a very full stomach. (And yes, I had already slept all afternoon, in preparation of the all-nighter.)

Saturn was very bright. There were a number of objects that I have never seen with the naked eye that were quite easy to see, once the moon dropped out of the sky. The stars against the black was quite an awesome sight. Unfortunately, it started clouding up around 2:30 A.M. Most people packed it up and left, aside from Elliot, Leonard, and me (my whole gang hit the sack between 11:00 - 12:30). Finally, around 3:00, the sky was totally black with clouds. Elliot packed it up and Leonard broke down (but apparently didn't go to sleep for a while). I just laid outside on a blanket, enjoying the sounds of peace, quiet, and an occasional distant coyote howl. At about 4:00, the sky cleared again, and I revisited Jupiter and some of the star clusters I had seen that seemed brighter in my scope that I have ever remembered seeing them. At around 5:00 A.M., the sky began to brighten up, so I packed it in. [I then drove to Fort Smith and began running the sound system at my church at 7:30 A.M. .... I was great until about halfway through the pastor's sermon (11:30) when my body started trying to shut down! I finally got home by 12:00 and took a 4 hour nap.]

All in all, my most memorable view of Jupiter happened that night. I saw the swirls in the stripes of Jupiter's bands, as well as the great eye. I was viewing through my scope, using Leonard's 2" barlow, and my sister-in-law's 25mm Meade Kellner - a long focal length for such in-your-face detail. It was so blindingly bright, I really couldn't seem to see much of it. Kenny loaned me a #80 light blue filter, which seemed to help bring out the contrast, as Kenny pointed out it would. Then I pulled out my own #82A (darker) blue filter. It was unbelievable. I have never seen such sharp images and clear detail, and certainly didn't expect anything like this experience.

This is the first such "deep sky" site I have ever visited, and now I know what all the hype is about. Mulberry Mountain isn't nearly as far away as I thought it was, either. I might just have to make some more trips out there for some personal all-nighters! Mr. Green


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array." - Genesis 2:1, NIV
 
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lowell mccormick
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 08:41 pm EDT  
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I'm sorry I didn't meet anyone or get to observe with you guys, but I did have a great time observing and vacationing in Arkansas. I was just across the Mulberry River from the lodge all week. I drove over to the lodge in the pouring rain on Friday around 3pm, poked around a bit, sat in the truck and checked email using the wifi that was there, and then went back across the Mulberry to our base camp. I got to observe on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday nights were excellent observing conditions and Wednesday had poor transparency. I've been to a lot of dark sky places and lots of star parties and the skies near the Muyberry are very dark. Early in the evening until 11pm there was a very slight sky glow towards the northwest that was probably Fayetteville. After 11pm on all three nights the sky glow disappeared so there was no sky glow for 360 degrees. For any area, it can't get better than that. I've seen darker skies, but that was at 7400' elevation at "New Mexico Skies" in near Cloudcroft, N.M. It helps that the Mulberry Montain Lodge is in the National Forest.

Since I was observing with all non-observers, I stuck to the best and brightest. M51 was excellent with plenty of spiral structure and lots of contrast. M13 was perfect, Saturn at 350x on Monday night clearly showed banding and the Cassini division. On Tuesday night Saturn at 525x was even better. M104 was great. An incredible number of galaxies were visible in the Virgo cluster. NGC 4565 is a beautiful edge on galaxy, especially from very dark skies. Monday night I observed till 3am so I got to look at the Veil Nebula with a 2" OIII filter on a Meade 30mm UWA on the 16" dob. It's beautiful.

We also had a blast canoeing and rafting the Mulberry. It was a great trip and I think I should get up there twice a year from now on. If you guys schedule for New Moon next year, I'll be there. I plan on writing a piece for our newsletter about observing in Arkansas and will give info on your star party in the article and see if I can get a contingent from our club (Pontchartrain Astronomy Society) interested.

One suggestion I have is to give Attilla Danko at the Clear Sky Clock the coordinates of the Mulberry Mountain Lodge. When you go to the Clear Sky Clock site, you can click on the Dark Sky Map. Right now it shows the marker in Fort Smith for your club (from this site). When I clicked on the Star Party site over at Clear Sky Clock, it shows the Lodge in the dark blue area. When I cycled back to the road map, the location shown was miles west of where the Lodge is. There are a few tick marks inside the black area, so one of these might be the Lodge.

See ya next year,

Lowell


 
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kedi151
 Monday, June 09 2008 @ 09:24 pm EDT  
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Glad to see everybody made it back safe.

As everyone before me has mentioned, It was a great time. Friday night I was able to get some of the best views of Jupiter that I have ever seen through my scope. I tried pictures but had no luck. The wind did make it difficult for time exposures but I guess I cant use that excuse because Leonard took some fantastic shots. I am looking forward to seeing those here Leonard. I finally made it to bed around 3:30AM. The wind rattling my tent woke me up around 6:30 and I finally got out of bed at 8. After some running, hiking, winning the tent flying contest and visiting some family members around Ozark, I returned around 5:00PM for supper.

Eric,

I would like to thank you and the Burgermeister (The artist formally kwown as Randy) for the great hamburgers and hotdogs. It was great having supper and visiting. Maybe next year we can have a cookout for all the astronomy type folks.

We watched the balloon entertainment until the moon started showing and people started lining up at the scopes. The people continued to come around mainly looking at the Moon, Saturn and M13 until sometime after 10. I had some friend from Ozark come out after midnight. The viewing was great with intermittent clouds occasionally rolling through. Jupiter seemed much brighter than the night before and I couldn't seem to get the same level of detail trying just about every possible combination of filters that I could. I have "masking" lids for my scope but those were located conveniently at home. If anyone has any other suggestions for keeping the brightness of Jupiter from flooding out the detail, I would love to hear it.

I would also like to thank Elliot for providing a tour of the skies through his 16" for me and my friends.

Although I can't remember their names It was a pleasure to meet everyone else over the course of the weekend.

Ran out of energy and went to bed at 3:30 again and awoke to the same windblown tent a little after 6.

I cant remember the guys name that runs the place(probably due to the 7 total hours of sleep) but I had a nice discussion with him when I checked out. He would like to dedicate the place to us for the weekend and at worst case seal off the back side to avoid the headlight problems. Well, I guess I have rambled enough and I am going to try to catch up on that last little bit of sleep tonight.

See you all soon.



Kenny
 
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Chuck Larson
 Tuesday, June 10 2008 @ 12:34 am EDT  
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Big Grin
June 9
I had to be out of town, away from my computer, since last week Wed., June 4, consequently, I did not get to read many of the comments that were made questioning our set up location for the Mulberry Mtn. star party, nor did I get to read Bob's take on all of this, until this evening, when I finally got back to Fort Smith.
I personally had some of the same questions that Kenny and Leonard were asking about our camping location, since I also had thought that it was earlier decided, back in April, that we would be along the fence line where there is both water and electricity available. Also, with regard to Bob's comments, Loretta and I packed up all of our camping gear and decided to go on Friday, regardless of the weather forecast (which was iffy when we left). I got to Mulberry Mtn. and checked in about 3 PM that afternoon. At the office I was informed that I was the first one to arrive from AOAS.
I also asked at the office about our camping arrangements, mentioning Bob's e-mail that said for us to set up near the lodge area. I was specifically told by those at the check-in desk that we were NOT to set up near the lodge !!! The area that were were to be at was pointed out, directly to me, as being along the fence line near the water and electrical outlets. The cabins near the lodge were all rented out and we did not need to be near those areas for our
viewing area.
I put up 2 large tents along the fence line (one for sleeping and one as a screened food area). The site I was at was very adequate for camping, plus it was very easy to set up my telescope a short distance in front of my camping area. As for the light pollution, I did not have any great difficulties with headlights other than on Saturday evening for a short while as several vehicles were leaving after watching the hot air balloon glows. This was not a major problem since the skies were not great for viewing until a while later into the darkness of the night.
Yes we did have a slight walk across the open field to get to the shower/restroom building in the woods, but it was not that much of problem getting back and forth.
We did have a great time, and met some great new astronomer friends that came in from other areas of the state and elsewhere. On Saturday evening we had a great cookout with many of these same folks by taking our picnic over into the wooded camp grounds and cooking burgers, hot-dogs, and brats, on a grill that was there. Everyone I talked with had a great time at the cookout. As for the evenings of viewing, we had a good turnout of viewers and several members of the public came around to look thru many of the scopes. I think that on Sat. evening I counted a dozen telescopes of various sizes and capabilities set up. It was interesting to meet with so many others that were eager to compare notes, tips, comments, and other joys of astronomy with one another. Although there were some periods of clouds on Fri. and Sat. eve., we still got in some fine viewing. Many of the others from across the state and elsewhere were very complementary of the facilities, venue, location, and the great time that was had while being there. Several from other astronomical clubs were very interested in seeing this become a big event and happy to help get the word out and help to see it succeed. I heard several comments that this was also a better site than the TSP, for location, facilities, amenities, etc.
By the time we were to leave on Sunday, I found that Loretta and I were the last ones to leave. Packing up 2 tents and all our gear took more time than most of the others.
As for Bob's comments that he had complaints about this being unorganized, I don't know all the details of what those complaints may have been about. Was it because the original confusion regarding the dates that were first announced for the event to take place this year? I know I had different dates written in my schedule book from the days were were originally there in April and set those dates, than what was later announced on the AOAS website. Or was it because of some of the questions regarding where we were going to set up our camp sites? I know, I and several others had a different understanding about that than Bob, but when I got to Mulberry Mtn. I was told by those in charge of Mulberry Mtn. where we were suppose to set up camp.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Mr. Patton, on Saturday morning (he was driving past me and stopped to talk). He said that he felt that it would be best if he would make it an astronomy group only event for 2009. When I checked out on Sunday morning, I got that same comment by those working in the office area.
I would also like to put in a special "job well done" for Leonard, who did an outstanding job contacting so may
state and area astronomy clubs to let them know about this years event. I think he has taken some undeserved
criticism from a certain individual that does not really know how much work he has really put in to getting the word out, not only for this year's event, but also for 2009.
As for certain negative comments made to others, it is important to understand that some of these folks that are the point of the negative comments, also have jobs, family responsibilities, and other commitments that do not let them participate as much or as often as them may want to do so in AOAS, but are willing to try to do the best they can whenever possible. Then, there are those that are struggling to pay for gas to do all the other things that are required of them, and may not have the additional funds to pay for gas that goes to participating in AOAS events.
As gas prices continue to rise, which also puts higher prices on other commodities, I can see where AOAS may not get as much participation as we may wish we could see from our membership.
I apologize if I may have stepped on anyones toes with my comments, but I just felt, after reading all of the past comments that seem to be passing back and forth, that I just had to put in my two-cents worth
AOAS has many good members in the organization, but do each one of you really know or understand what each of their personal situations and circumstances really is like??? Have you had to walk in their shoes? As on of the old saying goes: Don't always judge a book by its cover.
Spending a couple of days and nights with other astronomers gives one a great sense of belonging and a renewed respect for all that they do.
Respectfully submitted
Chuck


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cm
 Thursday, June 12 2008 @ 04:36 pm EDT  
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Randy and I want to say "thank you" to all of you for making us feel so welcome and at home at the star party last weekend. We are "rookies" in every sense of the word and have no idea how far we will go with this new hobby. It was so interesting and each of you added tidbits of info in a way that wasn't at all overwhelming. You were generous with your views of the skies and answers to all our questions. And what a beautiful night you picked, couldn't have been better for us fair weather beginners. The hamburger fry and balloons were a great bonus. Friday night we just sat up on the hill on blankets and enjoyed the view. Eric nurtured us on our very first night of astronomy. He has incredible patience if you haven't noticed. He's still working on helping us get our mirror just right. Thanks again everyone, we will likely see you again. Connie & Randy Molitor, Tuttle, OK


 
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