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Thread: AstroCache Event??

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Something to keep in mind though, in order to do this the way it SHOULD be done, there needs to be electricity. My big scope is computer controlled & the 5" has a clock-drive on it. Ideally, I would need to have my laptop there & I could give some basic examples of how we image through the scopes with digital cameras & CCDs, & then stack & process the images on a computer to make them really cool.

    Strictly visual observing is fine too. But modern technology has made imaging VERY quick, simple, & just hugely interesting to watch happen. The scopes CAN be operated from a big rechargable battery pack. But I only have 1, they are expensive, & it wouldn't last very long if I had 2 scopes, dew heaters, & the computer hooked to it.

    All this stuff can also be operated from a cigarette lighter. But once again, multiple equipment would run the battery down quickly. So you'd have to leave a vehicle running at least part of the time, or use just 1 rig to 1 piece of equipment, so there was little drain on the battery.

    A generator is a definite no-no. The electricity they provide is much too "dirty" to trust with a mount which costed a couple thousand $$$'s. So in order to do this the right way, for convienience, simplicity, & max enjoyment, we'd need a place that we could arrange to hook up to electricity. State Parks LOVE star parties.....they do them on Pinnacle several times per year.....so they already understand what is needed to set one up.

    But, of course, there's always just purely visual peeking through the scopes, story-telling, & using a laser to point out objects in the sky. That doesn't require electricity, but takes away half the fun & works the heck out of whomever is controlling the scopes. There's no computer to help out, so the operator has to rely on paper, charts, manual setting circles, & mathematics to find the targets.

    But it CAN be done that way. Electricity just makes it so much easier & adds a ton of stuff to what can be included as an activity.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russellville
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    892
    I used to belong to a local astronomy club here in the River Valley. We used to hold star parties on Mt. Magazine, once where the new lodge is located and other times at the horse camp on the east end of the mountain just before you head downhill toward Paris. I think that would still be a good spot.
    "Wildness is a necessity." -- John Muir

    "When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the geocache, then find a better spot." – briansnat

  3. #13
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    Jul 2009
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    Yeah, I had a couple places in mind. The horse camp was one of them. Another is the parking lot beside the visitor center. Only thing there is trees would limit how low you could view the southern sky....but you don't need to be looking THAT low anyway. And I'm not sure if they have 24/7 nightlights in that parking lot or not. I've helped host some parking lot parties when they showed us how & where to turn the lights off. If no nightlights were there, I don't think that any lights from the visitor center would bother us greatly.

    Drive-by blinders might be a problem there. But I don't think we are really looking at an all-night hard-core star party here, with people trying to take 30 minute CCD images or finding those extremely faint fuzzies which require perfect night-vision. So an occasional automobile wouldn't really ruin it.

    There are at least 2 places on Petit Jean which would work. I don't know the status of electricity availability at either. And at least 1 of them is also near a highway.

    Either end of Nebo would work also. But since we would surely have several kiddos around, the nearby cliffs wouldn't be a good idea.

    And it doesn't just absolutely HAVE to be on a mountain. A nice wide field would work too. I own a large hill-top directly behind my house that is perfect for observing....full horizon views & I have control of most of the lights that are visible. But it's not a good location for a group. There's no road that goes up there. But dew is always a problem in Arkansas, even with dew heaters on the scopes. Being on top of a mountain usually negates a bit of that problem however.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Crow Mountain, Russellville Area
    Posts
    284
    Count me in. That would be Way Cool

    BTW, I just have a special place in my heart for our veterans, especially the disabled ones. I salute you for your service, and your geocaching excellence!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Lower Arkansas
    Posts
    639
    Quote Originally Posted by captaincooder

    BTW, I just have a special place in my heart for our veterans, especially the disabled ones. I salute you for your service,
    I second what cooder said.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Crystal Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    384
    We are ready - what can we do?

    We, also, agree that Hickory Nut would be a perfect spot. Plenty of room and definitely a great spot for observing the stars.
    “There aren’t enough days in the weekend.”
    Rod Schmidt

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Wynne, AR
    Posts
    38
    Village Creek State Park holds a star viewing each year. It's always neat to get to see the stars up close!

    Sounds like fun!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russellville
    Posts
    892
    How about the planetarium at UALR? Then it could be a daytime event.
    "Wildness is a necessity." -- John Muir

    "When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the geocache, then find a better spot." – briansnat

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot Springs Village
    Posts
    621
    Sounds like a load of fun! My kids would really like it too.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    I've been approached by the team which sets up April's MOGA mega-event in Missouri to see about incorporating something like this into that get-together, since this years theme is "space".

    One possibility we discussed ... they are having a cache-seek for kids, that goes from planet-to-planet. At each coser planet, they'll be required to do some type of simple puzzle to find the coordinates to the next planets cache.

    The telescope part would be used at 1, perhaps 2, of the stations (planets). The coordinates for the next cache would be written on a piece of cardboard, a certain unreadable distance away. The trick would be to use the scope at that station, in order to magnify the coordinates enough to read them.

    I have 2 smaller scopes which would be ideal for this. Since kids are involved, even though an adult would be present full-time, there's always a chance that someone would kick a scope over. That would be a mega-disaster with a big scope, but not much of one with the smaller ones. And too, the complex mirror/lens set-up in the big scope makes it difficult to use for terrestrial purposes. (The image is upside-down, flipped sideways, & rotated to a certain degree, depending upon mount position) The smaller scopes simply require a fairly affordable image-decombobulator-thingy.

    And there will also most likely be some night activity available on the big scope & small ones too. This may not actually be scheduled, but just going on for anyone who wants to stay up late & wander over to the parking lot.

    I've posted another thread asking if anyone was interested in teaming up for a MOGA trip in April. I'll also bring that up here also. The big scope, with all necessary equipment, weighs around 100 pounds. For pure safety purposes, since it's delicate optics, it's risky moving it around without help. And at night-time activity, especially with kids involved, there needs to be a full-time adult at EACH scope ..... I'd have at least 3 of them set up.

    I'm sure MOGA people will volunteer for helping out, but if any of my local caching friends want to volunteer, that'd be cool. The event is on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday. Night-time viewing will probaly be set up for Friday & Saturday night. The daytime stuff MIGHT be some late Friday evening, but definitely Saturday, & perhaps Sunday, up to about noon. So there will be several sessions when the equipment will have to be set up, taken down, & moved to another location. I'll make sure to give you a 35mm film can to show my gratitude .... I'll even camo it for ya with Wal-Mart duct tape.

    (Well, actually, I don't use film cans. So you'd get something a little more elite, like a Baby Coke Bottle )

    P.S. I haven't forgotten about the actual purpose of this thread, the Arkansas event. But that really needs to be in the summer, so we have plenty of time to discuss it.

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