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Posts Made By: Rod Kaufman

August 19, 2005 06:03 PM Forum: After Dark

Back from Oz! :-(

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Maurice,
I would like to see the southern milky way in Sagittarius overhead in a 7.5 mag sky as it must be stunning!
Great report and I enjoyed reading it.

June 13, 2007 05:39 PM Forum: After Dark

Last Night At Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Tuesday June 12 was a primo observing night at Pinos with dark sky meters registering 21.53 which meets or exceeds Floyd Blue specs for dark sky observing grin
The limiting visual magnitutde appeared to be 6.5 or greater although it fluctuated a bit during the night. Seeing was especially good during the first three hours after dark and Venus, Saturn and Jupiter held up well under high power. Saturn had a very impressive display of its moons with several forming a cross like pattern.
Conditions were mild with no wind and temps in the mid forties.
Be advised if you are considering going up to Pinos over the weekend, the trees have been pollinating and although it wasn't too bad last night, an amateur from nearby Pine Mountain Club noted he's had to wash his vehicle every day for the past week. I'd hessitate to wash my optics until after a weekend visit as I also noticed quite a bit of pollen on my vehicle in the morning. The stuff can be hard to remove but it's best to do it quickly so it doesn't adhere on the optics.

January 18, 2008 01:49 AM Forum: After Dark

Awesome Toyota TV Commercial

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Anybody catch the new Toyota TV commercial? It features a star party in progress with people observing through eyepieces of newts, glimpses of the moon thru an eyepiece and a huge truss dob peering up at the stars in a dark sky location.
Only the last few seconds of the commercial mention one of Toyota's SUVs but virtually all of the commercial displays an active star party.
I'll think I'll email Toyota of North America and thank them for their choice of a dark sky location and views of the skies with people using telescopes instead of highlighting another piece of metal...

January 20, 2008 03:00 AM Forum: After Dark

Tonights Conjunction of the Moon & Mars

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Hi Dan,
I don't know if it's just me but when I open your attached photo, it's totally black without a picture. shocked

January 27, 2008 01:15 AM Forum: After Dark

Toyota Response On Commercial

Posted By Rod Kaufman

For those who are interested, I received a response from Toyota advertising thanking me for the info on where the star party commercial was filmed and it contained the following statement from their rep: "It proves that very little escapes the eyes of star people!"

February 5, 2008 03:31 PM Forum: After Dark

Winter Alternatives To Mt Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

With the road to Mt Pinos closed at the "Y" due to heavy snow, does anyone have alternative viewing sites in mind?
I'm considering Walker Pass or Fossil Falls for dark skies. Any feedback from anyone on these sites at this time of year?

February 7, 2008 11:14 PM Forum: After Dark

Update on Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I called the ranger station and the road to Pinos is only open to McGill campsite. The ranger told me the county snowblower truck blew up at that point because there's way too much snow up there. The forest service is waiting on a meltdown and a larger truck to clear the road to the parking lot and it won't happen for awhile.
The road to the dirt parking lot behind the ranger station is also closed. Lockwood valley road is open although condition of the dirt roads to the observing area(LAAS)site is unknown but may be passable.
Looks like breezy conditions for Friday and possibly Saturday. Fossil Falls is showing winds on the clock but Walker Pass and Canebrake are looking good at this time. I hope it holds for Friday.

March 1, 2008 04:13 PM Forum: After Dark

Friday Night At Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I decided to head up to Pinos Friday night because the clear sky clock predicted good conditions and moonrise wouldn't happen until 1:30 with the moon clearing the treeline at 2:00am.
The road to the parking lot is open with about three feet of snow covering the areas adjacent to the lot. One other amateur, a gentleman from the CN forum, was up there but only for a view of the mountain and he and his wife left at sundown.
It appeared I was going to be solo at Pinos which was just fine with me but, alas, it was not to be.
As darkness fell, I could easily discern the A and E stars in the trapezium in my 16" reflector with only 3rd magnitude stars visible in the deep twilight. The seeing was excellent and I thought to myself: "This is going to be a great night!"
Then, the herd of boyscouts arrived for "winter manuevers" as their scout master informed me when he asked me where the camground was located. The guy was dressed in a teeshirt and didn't have a clue about the location of the chula vista campground which is located a quarter of a click north of the parking lot. I thought to myself, "What do I look like, the shell answer man?
Anyway, I directed the geek and his freezing herd to the campground, told them to put on the cold weather gear and hunker down for the night.
I thought to myself, great I've got them safe, secure and out of my hair with their lanterns, flashlights and BS gear.
The sky was looking even better by then and I started my routine of picking off various galaxies from the Observer's Guide when two boatloads of amigos rolled into the lot and parked right next to me. Lights everywhere, blaring music, boxes of food but no stars. I thought to myself, "I'm outgunned ten to one, I don't have a flak jacket and my SUV isn't up-armored, what do I do?"
The next thing I know, I'm helping the little ones up the ladder to the eyepiece of my scope with a line of all ten, and I mean all ten, of the new arrivals for a look at Saturn, the double cluster, M42, M65 and so on. I thought to myself, "Maybe I should've set up on the Arizona border and offered them free looks at Mars on their way over!"
Anyhow, lights out, with ten happy amigos directed by me to the campground, right next to the boyscouts!
Finally, it was down to business and I felt I was being rewarded by a truly outstanding evening. The seeing was superb with occasional moments of subarc second viewing. I didn't see a lightdome on the horizons which I thought was odd and the dark sky meter was showing 21.85 at the zenith! I then realized I could pick off mag 6.5 plus stars visually and I suspected Los Angeles was being fogged-over.
But, my superb evening was not to be.
At 11:00 pm or thereabouts, two more boatloads of cousins arrived, in 4X4 pickups with all of the round lights on top of the them fully illuminating the parking lot.
More blaring music, lights, lights and more lights.
I watched them put up a huge tarp next to the parking lot and, as they unloaded their firewood, I uploaded my scope into my vehicle. There's not supposed to be any camping on the lot but I'm not the forest circus so I felt it was best to leave, intact. I have no idea what they were all doing up there but I the next time I go up to Pinos I expect to find a taco stand!
On my way home I found the reason for the exceptionally dark skies at Pinos: heavy fog was evident at Templin highway and beyond. I had to switch on my emergency blinkers so I could be seen and I was very concerned about hitting another vehicle so I slowed down and crawled through the pass.
Maybe I'll have better luck next week...

March 4, 2008 02:43 AM Forum: After Dark

Skyclock Company vs Clear Sky Clock

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I thought this was old news and had it been amiably resolved. Did something new happen?

March 22, 2008 02:13 AM Forum: After Dark

We Missed It

Posted By Rod Kaufman

A supernova 40 times the size of our sun exploded and it was visible to the naked eye in the handle of the little dipper:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/03/21/exploding.star.ap/index.html