The Night of January 23, 2015
- Last Updated: 12 February 2015
By David Nakamoto
Three of the moons of Jupiter would cast shadows on its disk. Such a thing has not happened for more than a decade, since 2004 March 27th to be exact. Back then, we were at the Griffith satellite station, south of the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot. It was also a much more inconvenient time for a public star party, since we had to stay up until after midnight to see the event on that date. This time, it would occurred much earlier, at 10:25pm.
- Last Updated: 09 November 2014
The Palm Desert Resort. Air conditioned rooms, pool and Jacuzzi, good eating places in town less than a mile away, and lots of fellow amateurs to talk shop with. Who could ask for more?
This was the 21st such event. Since they skipped holding the event a few years ago due to problems getting the resort ready, this whole thing started in 1993 when the organizers of RTMC decided that they had to keep that event on Memorial Day for lots of good reasons; a recent switch to another weekend in May apparently didn’t go very well as far as attendance was concerned. So they decided on a New Moon night at the end of summer, to bookend RTMC at the beginning of summer. So Nightfall was born.
The Strange Case of BL Lacertae
- Last Updated: 08 October 2014
By David Nakamoto
Serendipity has always been part of the process of discovery. Facts are collected. Perhaps they sit in cabinets and drawers for years, even decades, before someone takes the time to study them thoroughly. And perhaps something unusual is discovered. Even discovering and analyzing a point of light can bring surprises. In this case, it happens to be a ho-hum variable star.
The Griffith Public Star Party of August 30th, 2014
- Last Updated: 14 September 2014
A report by
The temperature was warm all night. Clouds covered over part of the sky to the north and threatened to invade the rest, but stayed away from the southern sky. Thanks to a poor attempt at alignment and computer initialization, both tracking and slewing were off by a considerable degree, affecting how well the computer/mount combination could center objects. Also, it didn’t help that I was picking targets in widely scattered portions of the sky. There was some light haze, and a thin crescent moon, but nothing too serious. So around 7:20PM I started setting up my 10-inch aperture f/4.5 Newtonian and Orion G3 camera for a night of deep sky objects. Since this is the only way to actually see more than a faint fuzzy patch of light, I dedicated myself to those rather than give views of the Moon and planets. People of all ages appreciated and liked my efforts, and had many good questions about just about everything. But the crowd this night seemed to be less than usual, especially for the last weekend of summer. Perhaps a large attendance at the Greek theater, perhaps many people left town?