Welcome to OSP IX - 2013.

OSP IX is scheduled for June 5th to the 12th!

The road trip this year will be to head to Holbrook, AZ and search for meteorites.

On July 19, 1912, the quiet of Holbrook, Arizona was interrupted at approximately 6:30 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. local time, by a series of loud booming sounds followed by several explosions in rapid succession. The entire explosive event lasted for about 30 seconds to perhaps one minute. As a few Holbrook residents looked to the sky, there was too much daylight to see the bright light of the meteor. From the explosive sounds, the meteor passed in a due east path over the town and it was actually seen by one witness to explode about a mile or two in the air and it is now estimated that about 14,000 - 16,000 pea sized extraterrestrial stones pelted the ground arround the section house located at the Aztec Rail Yard, six miles east of Holbrook....

Google Map To "Holbrook, Arizona
Meteorite Fall Of 1912, Meteorites, Strewnfield."


View Larger Map

Additionally, we'll be attempting voice contact with the ISS!

The FCC just issued me the following call sign; Kilo Golf Seven Charlie Charlie Mike (KG7CCM), I've passed both the Technician and General radio tests, so I'm now a General Class Radio Operator!

This is the conversation I hope to have: Me: "Kilo Golf Seven Charlie Charlie Mike (KG7CCM)"...Them: "Kilo Golf Seven Charlie Charlie Mike this is November Alpha One Sierra Sierra (NA1SS)"... Me: "Thanks guys, this is Steven and friends at the Overgaard Star Party in Northern Arizona, how's the view from up there? We see you crossing the sky as we speak."...



The Kenwood TS-2000X transceiver with power supply, and several mic's to choose from, is best suited for satellite communication. The 'X' in the model denotes the 23cm band is included.



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Satellite tracking UHF/VHF antenna mount. Click and double click to start/stop.



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For the meteorite hunt: The one centimeter cube reference object, for taking scale pictures of the meteorites we'll find.... They are made of Tungsten Carbide, a very hard dense material.



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The ultimate observing case.... Click and double click to start/stop.



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This is how you mount a guidescope.... This pic is of the tip-tilt-push-pull mounting assembly I built.



Design

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The recently acquired C8 with motofocus was finally installed.



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Mounting it on top could have made the eyepiece inaccessible for visual views (35mm Panoptic, f6.3, 36.6x, 1.9 degree TFOV), so, it was put on the side. The F6.3 adapter wouldn't allow it to come to focus so it ended up f10.



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Additionally, a 60mm refractor won at a Warren Astronomical Society xmas party back in the late-80’s, was rebuilt and repainted for use with its own reticle eyepiece in placing the alignment stars needed for Argo Navis in the 6 arc-minute field of view of the main scope's reticle eyepiece.



Nested Rings

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The refractor will give about a 1.6 degree TFOV and with the use of the laser to position the scope on an alignment star, should put it in the field to then center it on its crosshairs. The ServoCAT can be put in tracking mode using Polaris, not the NCP, which is close enough to keep the second alignment star stationary for Argo Navis. Then ServoCAT is restarted cancelling the Polaris tracking mode which then it uses the Argo Navis 3-point data for further tracking.



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Another addition this year is the light box to back-light the Sky Atlas 2000 Field Edition.



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Renamed the Red Light TransIlluminator.....



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The guts were changed from fluorescent lamps to 10mm red LED's with the lenses removed.....



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A lazy-Susan angled stage was also built so it rotates to face any part of the sky, with a spot for the battery so no cords to get wrapped up in.....



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The 6"f3.5 received some more modifications, like the sliding magnetic counter-balance weight system, a knob to help move the scope without then having to put your hot fingers into the incoming light path by grabbing the tube's end, and, an eyepiece rack that will also prevent the foosball kick of an eyepiece into the dirt by preventing the scope from tipping too far past center if an eyepiece is removed and the balance then not correct.....



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And everyone thought the truck was packed before on previous years..... You could still see out the windows. Not this year, can't see the front window.



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Joe took some really good shots of the mountains on the way up to the property.....



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This one too, of Four Peaks.....



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Almost there.....



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Once we arrived it was time to unload and create Tent City. Joe had the smaller accommodations but had the metal framed cot, foam pad, and sleeping bag, plus the care package of sheets, towel and pillow and blanket.....



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Here are Bill's accommodations. The air mattress performed admirably and he too had the Care Package, (which obviously included a beer).....



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Once everyone was set for sleeping arrangements, it was time to get the scope ready.....



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Open, open, open.....



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All the scopes came out to play. The 13.1", the 6", and, the 36" (plus C8)....



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Obviously no one said "Say Cheese!".....



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Not a bad looking sky. Every night for the entire week it would turn out....



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The first morning after observing until dawn everyone's wide awake and Joe was kind enough to start cooking breakfast.....



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It was an awesome year this year to have so much help. Bill and Joe cleaning the breakfast dishes. Thanks Guys....



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Different parts of the day had different chair locations for shade. The Sun was brutal....



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That first day following the morning's first cups of coffee the Ridge canopy was installed.....



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On The Ridge enjoying the cool breezes. From here you can look out over miles of trees....



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Most all cooking is done on the grill or the camp stove. Leg Quarters anyone...?



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Months in advance of OSP the object list grew. Time now to plan the order of attack.... In the background is the EM spectrum Chart as we had plans of contacting the ISS and it showed the bands I was allowed to transmit on with my newly minted General license.



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Here's the antenna tracker.... One thing we soon found out is daytime activities involve a lot of sitting if you're on your feet all night.... We, I, could not get motivated to get it all hooked up, so next year....



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One interesting thing we did was to put Joe's new high-speed, high-definition camera to the test. The trick was coordinating the finger-flicking of a pine bud and snap a picture at the same time.... So high speed it took quite a few tries.



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The full astronomy library always gets packed for the observing trip. The Hit List grew substantially as a result because of the details found in these observing guides...



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Time now to get the scope ready for another all-nighter. Here the front cover is removed....



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Apparently Bill is scrutinizing the tip-tilt-push-pull mounting plate I built to align the C8 to the 36-inch easily. The C8 was an awesome upgrade for this year. It provided rather good images using the 35mm Panoptic giving a 70 arc-minute true field of view at f10 which is about 4x the TFOV of the 36"....



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The skies were amazing, with solid blue right to the horizon without hazing out.....



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My wife Lori arrived on Friday, and brought along some friends.....



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Two of which were Kuiper and Sagan.....



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Cheep-Cheep, yes we had chickens attend the star party.....



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Not just one chicken either.... Cocoa is pictured here and not shown is Reba and Diamond.....



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And, of course, Don came up with Lori to do some scopin' with us. It's always good to see Don - good times...



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With the ladder set up it gave an interesting perspective on the scopin' area.....



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And a picture of the business end of the scope.....



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...a little perspective on the size the scope.....



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One nice thing about chickens at a star party is fresh eggs for Eggie-Sandwiches.....



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...and Deviled Eggs!.....



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So, the excursion this year was to try and find meteorites from the Holbrook Fall of 1912. In this image you can see where we had to turn around to find access to the site, where we looked and where others have looked and found some. We didn't find any but we know we were in the right area (but also there's a better area and we'll be back)....



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Yep, no clouds, mid-day, and it's 108F looking for meteorites. Bill found a suspect meteorite of possibly Canyon Diablo (Meteor Crater) but none of us found any suspect Holbrooks....



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I had borrowed several detectors from the local astronomy club, of which I'm a member, so everyone had one to use.....



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We scoured a pretty good sized area. This is Bill scanning the ground....



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I scanned the ground with the detector while visually looking elsewhere.....



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Here's Joe. A lot, I mean aaa llloooottttt of scrap metal resides along the train tracks....



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...and here comes one now. Quite a few passed by as we were searching....



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We crossed the tracks to head to the second area of search. That is one long set of tracks.....



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After about four hours of searching we packed it up and as we went through town decided to stop in the Holbrook Rock Shop. Here's Joe lookin' all GQ. This place had everything, rocks, minerals, fossils, and trinkets....



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John and Bill are asking questions about some of the rocks that were found to see if they were considered petrified wood. Indeed they were....



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Here's a picture of one of the more colorful samples I found. In all I found 12 pieces of variously colored petrified wood....



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Upon returning home we had our steak dinner and a toast to the future of astronomy, OSP, and more importantly good friends. The winds were higher, roughly 10 to 15 MPH, so we called it a beer night. Having been in the sun all day, traipsing around the elevated desert looking for meteorites, and severe sleep deprivation dictated we sacrifice a potentially perfectly usable night....



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We, finally, after nine OSP's, finished the bottle of Ancient Age Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Knowing this would happen this year there was a second bottle to continue into the future....



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...and so the bottle of Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey continues that tradition. Why Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey? It's something made in the US of A, ingenuity at its finest, just like Apache-Sitgreaves Center for Astrophysics....



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The eyepiece holder received a little attention. After our almost daily trips to Ace Hardware (and Dairy Queen) a sanding drum was bought and modified to slightly enlarge the holes so the eyepieces just dropped in, er, I mean gently placed but done so more easily....



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As it happened, the cactus were in bloom. Yes, cactus, this is an elevated desert area and several cacti species are on the property.....



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...and what better way to follow up a pretty cactus bloom than with a picture of my Sweety.....



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What a good time.... Scopin' all night, talkin' astronomy all day....



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More planning! That's what I like to see....



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Which when overdone leads to passing out. Here Don prepares for the night of observing....



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Here John prepares too, lol....



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Joe wanted to use the Binocular Stand. Lori provided the 11x80mm's. It was noticed though that after a nights use there was an adhesive failure causing the tilt. It was built 14 years ago so I guess a maintenance plan is called for....



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Every year new dates are carved into the OSP Table for all attending. This is Bill's first year here so the initials BB start it off.....



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Joe, too, first year so he's carving the initials JT first then the year.....



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John's adding to the veryyyyy long list of dates. He's only missed a couple years out of the nine.....



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This doesn't look like Don.... Unfortunately Lori, Don, the chickens, and dogs had to go home and it slipped his mind, so I cut the date in for him....



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And finally, this is how the table looks at OSP IX - 2013.....



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Don left his Coronado PST with us to continue watching the Sun safely (Thanks Don!!!).....



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...and the planning continues. The list had grown and grown and grown, but when you have a goto 36" scope it is just fun....



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Looks like the planning is catching up to Joe.....



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And, of course, with planning one must stay hydrated and so some got all misty-eyed. The Ancient Age, or now Woodford Reserve bottle is reserved for a single shot each at the, usually, Saturday night Rib-Eye steak dinner, and so there's a bottle (third one in nine years) of Canadian Mist....



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All the tech equipment runs off of solar panels and inverter, except for the generator which is brought up to cool the mirror.....



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Here's a very nice western horizon view for our last night of observing.....



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The Canadian Mist bottle now gets its mark for OSP IX. Given what I see remaining in the bottle we'll have to pick up another for next year....



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All good things.... Joe and Bill get the gate as we start our trek home....



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...with stops along the way. We stopped at the Ranger Station west of Forest Lakes. There's a nice 2000' elevation change overlook to see over the Range and Basin geology with a nice breeze....



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We stopped along the freeway before our exit to see Weaver's Needle and the Superstition Mountains.....



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And of course one has to have their picture taken next to a big tree. The Saguaro is a tree and the State Tree of Arizona....



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Once off the freeway and the winding road towards the Superstition Mountains we pulled off to the side of the road to just soak in the view, and take more pictures.....



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Upon arrival the beer flowed and we did the initial tests on Bill's suspect meteorite. The unglazed tile rubbing showed it to be identical to rub marks from a Canyon Diablo....



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Nice picture windows.....



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...nothin' like enjoying vacation.....



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For dinner, and more because this was Bill and Joe's first time to Arizona, we went to dinner at the Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon. Right up against the Superstition Mountains, it's dinner with a view, and hitchin' posts for the horses....



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A nice picture of Lori and Steven feeling at home in Arizona.....



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Group Photo! Good times - damn good times.....



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