Welcome to OSP X - 2014.

This year is the tenth anniversary of OSP!

The star party will begin May 28th through to June 24th with New Moon on May 28th.

...for my dog Sagan who died of cancer, way too young.... Bye Friend.



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OSP preparations are underway!

The Roll-Back-Building rails were topped in steel plate to give the 2x6 rails longevity.



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...and new steel wheels for the building to ride on. The phenolic ones initially used started to wear down and dry rot.



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Truss clamp blocks were made for the scope to assist in locking the angle of the side pairs of truss poles at the upper cage.



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Installed on the scope.



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Twin powered 6" exhaust was added to the observatory. One is dedicated to Cool Breeze II, the air conditioner used to cool the primary in the afternoon, so the heat from it is directly ported outside. The second exhaust fan is general building exhaust clearing an entire building's worth of air every 3.5 minutes.



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...The exterior ports towards the north.



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With automation comes many cables and so to better protect the bundle that flexes to connect the Mirror Box to the Rocker Box an articulating wireway was installed.



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Fortunately every cable was long enough and this certainly cleaned up the appearance of the scope. ...lookin' kinda professional-like.



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...Speaking of automation... The Go-To scope now has twin Motofocus control, Autoguider control, and, Canon 300D camera control. And, it's remote controlled through an adhoc network.



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...The CoolGear industrial 7-port hub is full. The laptop has two USB ports with one for the hub the remaining one is for the GPS satellite unit to sinc the computer clock for accurate time stamps.



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...The C8 came with a JMI Motofocuser and the Orion StarShoot Autoguider functions though PhD guiding software.



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...A Canon 300D camera is now ready to capture 30-second images. The internal battery was replaced with a wooden shape like the battery, with electrical contacts in the right places, and is powered via a 12vdc plug with a custom voltage converter inside to 8.2vdc.



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...Since JMI no longer makes motofocus parts for my focuser, I did the next best thing or maybe that is the best thing; modified their current motor unit to function on my focuser. Best thing is it's detachable using magnets and uses a Hot Wheels toy car tire over the gear to contact my 10:1 focuser knob for fine control. This way one can manually focus the scope for visual use, or connect it for remote focusing for imaging.



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...One advantage of Argo Navis, a telescope pointing computer system, is that it doesn't need nightly 2-star alignments as some units, like SkyCommander, and so if a single 2-star alignment is done as long as power remains on it will know where it's pointing during the day or every night there after. To separate Argo's power from the main control panel this manly-looking switch box was installed. The scope has a 50 Amp breaker so the manly-looking switch is because it can switch large current loads and not blow up.



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...Since Joe was wanting to bring his brand new 6"f6.5 refractor to have some fun with it under our Arizona skies, I built him a hybrid mount nicknamed Cinder-elly. It's named that because it's an Alt-Az mount that clamps to an existing cinder block stanchion that one could place the red-lighted chart box for the Sky Atlas 2000 Field Edition, or the 6"f3.5 scope which is rather short and the stanchions put the eyepiece at a good height. I had all the parts and for only an afternoon of my life it can accomodate his scope with its dovetail plate, or my 80mm APO.



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...Better than sun-screen.



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...12-foot by 20-foot.



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...An inner cover was built for the upper cage to keep the mice out and prevent the secondary from dewing up during temprature and humidity changes.



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...Coffee, a required element at star parties.



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...My sister in NC saw these and just had to buy and send them for the star party!!



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...The guys at the airport at DTW, about to get the party started.



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...just enough room. I love it when a plan comes together.



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...Ahhh, and upon arrival the Sam Adam's get popped open!



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...Getting there early enough in the afternoon allowed plenty of time to set up the new tents and sturdy cots.



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...So, when looking through the eyepiece of a 36" telescope, the words one may hear have now been condensed to acronyms and Bill made this special banner to hang in the observatory.



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...Most of these acronyms were known over the years, but some are recent arrivals to the observing field, like HST, and that's not Hubble Space Telescope.



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...The second order of business was grilling up some chicken leg quarters. The first night was not clear but...,



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...the next morning it was once again an awesome blue sky!!



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...John having a great time as we toast to the beginning of the star party.



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...and we had a lesson on making Cosmopolitan Martini's.



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...That evening we had grilled burgers and sauted mushrooms.



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...One project to work on was getting the iOptron Cube mount computer controlled. Worked great. The scope on there is an 80mm APO refractor.



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...Doug brought his new camera and was hoping to get some good nightscape images.



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...and he was successful, capturing a meteor trail.



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...Here's an awesome image of the Milky Way he captured.



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...And another, where he stacked many images.



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...The t-shirts were distributed and here are The X-Men.



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...Another project was getting the images in the 13" scope looking decent. The mirror cell was removed when this picture was taken.



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...The mirror was removed and cell inspected to verify no binding of the glass. After Bill's awesome collimating job, the images were wayyy better. Just ask John.



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...Ron thought of an interesting way of taking a Selfie!



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...This was Doug's first year to OSP so he started by chiselling his name into the Log Book and the date.



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...Here's a really good picture of Bill, you can just see the stress dissolving.



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...Another project we worked on were some brackets to hold the upgraded laptop onto the scope. Got to play with the drill and file, always fun.



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...And later that night Ron climbed the ladder for a unique perspective shot of me and the scope as twilight faded.



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...Lori and Don arrived on Friday and as usual, Lori prepared an awesome breakfast, with the help of The Girls.



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...The Girls; L to R, Reba, Cheep-Cheep, Coco, and Diamond.



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...and if food was around Kuiper and Hawking were always eager to help.



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...Doug and Bill were a tremendous help with cleanup. All the help was greatly appreciated!!



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...Don was also able to attend this year and again showed us his magic tricks. Next year he needs to bring more, they're quite good!!



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...The table, signed by everyone attending OSP X, but there's more....



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...After several nights of oberving those tents start looking really good....



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...and while some might see a potato chip bag, others would swear they see a pillow.



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...Here's an attempt to receive WiFi; TBC.



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...Each year we break out the bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey for a toast of good time, good friends, and the good Rib Eye steak dinner on the plates.



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...Cheers!! To another good year.



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...Bill took a group-selfie.



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...and with all things, it just keeps getting better! Yes, we leave the property but the star party continues in the Valley.



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...Next stop; Gold Canyon, where we're going swimming.



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...What happens on the Mountain stays on the Mountain, same goes for the pool. This was the last picture of OSP and soon OSP X.1 would begin...



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...Joe was unable to make the first dates of OSP due to the Detroit Gran Prix, but at the next New Moon he was in the air, dodging storms.



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...At Payson he bought a bottle of Jack Daniels which came with a nice set of glasses. Cheers!



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...Joe is an accomplished photographer and he is testing out ways to improve contrast on very sunny days.



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...How do we drink and stay up all night? Coffee, Mt. Dew, mixed amoung the beer and shots of whiskey.



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...Joe's second year at OSP chiselling in the date.



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...Now the Log Book is complete for 2014.



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...Star Parties are for working on things, things that make us go.... Here the Cinder-elly mount gets a rubber seal to keep dust out of the bearing surface area. After OSP, this foam was topped with expanded Teflon tape so at no time would the rubber catch, an eyepiece holder was installed, a battery and eyepiece heater cord installed, and eye-bolts were installed to eliminate the use of unsightly clamps to hold it to the cinder blocks. The corners of the FRP showing are now trimmed off as well.



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...Done! I like the modular approach of an outdoor cinder stack for a table for any purpose, with one option being a nice refractor Alt-Az mount.



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...Bill put together The Plate List but then only the three brightest objects - the only Messier's on the list, were observed, so..., Joe and I pounded out the rest of the list except one. Flag on the play, it's an object three degrees below the horizon!! IC 2220 is not visible from OSP.



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...Joe brought his 6-inch refractor on the flight and Cinder-elly worked well.



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...Early evening proved to be very active for satellites, here three are seen crossing one another, with ISS being the brightest.



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...Joe's 6-inch refractor in a very nicely composed shot.



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...Here is an image taken with an iPhone using eyepiece projection through the 36" It's not good....



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...Once again with Rib Eye's on the plates, we toast a shot from the Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey bottle and mark the side....



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...Here's Lori viewing through the 6-inch refractor painted in red light with the Milky Way in the background.



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...The Milky Way was the back-drop for many pictures. Here I'm seen working on the computer on the 36" scope.



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...Even a little light-painting for Joe. The views in the 6" were amazing.



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...The X-shirts were a hit. The group photo includes Lori, Kuiper, Me, Hawking, and Joe.



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...And so, another year of OSP comes to a close, well at least to close the gate until 2015.



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...Back in the Valley, Joe plays with the puppies adn then the star party ends. Another great year.



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...and so, all good things must come to an end.... One the way to the airport Joe and I stopped along the way in our neighborhood where Joe framed this one of a Saguaro cactus with the Superstition Mountains.



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