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Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Tonightís entry will be easy.We were completely clouded out.However, I wanted to put together a summary of my week of observing.

First and foremost Crow Butte is an awesome place to observe.During the week it was VERY quiet especially since it is prior to Memorial Day.Skies were dark (Bortle 3) with a minimal light bubble to the east from Hermiston.The orientation of the butte does a good job of blocking the bubble.There are some white lights visible on the horizon but they donít seem to affect the scope or night vision.There is a horribly bright mercury lamp on the campground restrooms but by carefully selecting the observing site we were able to block that out.The site I chose was about 50 yards away from our campsite and was reasonably dark.By virtue of being on the Columbia River and with the butte blocking the east itís almost like a depression so horizons were lost maybe up to 5-10 degrees with 15-20 in the east.We did get interrupted one evening by the very bright lights of a sternwheeler coming up the river.

Right now I donít plan to come here during the summer because I believe it will be too busy and the nights are very short.However, I am planning on observing the week after Labor Day during the new moon and possibly in October.

Next, the Orion Stratus 13mm is awesome!I have yet to look through a Televue but all of the reviews of the Stratus suggest that people are willing to put it right up against the Nagler.Also, the reviews suggest that the Orion Stratus is probably more bang for the buck at ~$135 each (retail).From my personal experience the detail, contrast and FOV is so much improved over my plossl eyepieces that I canít wait to order more.The detail of Saturn and the ďsurfaceĒ stars of M13 were so sharp!

Also, I spent a lot of time studying my planisphere.Of all the time I spent out there in the field I feel this time was the most productive.Learning where things are oriented is going to help so much in the future.Spending 30 minutes per session (to start anyway) studying and matching to the sky is well worth it.

Finally, it was hard to come home after spending the week in the field.†† Crow Butte is three hours from my house but it feels very remote.Canít wait for next time!






Comments:
On 05/17/10 at 10:39am JV wrote:
Reading these entries...it sounds like you had a wonderful trip man. Glad to hear it.

--JV

On 05/17/10 at 08:40am Jim McPherson wrote:
Haven't been to Trout Lake. Can you point me to more specfics?

And yeah, would love to get together for a night out. Just let me know.

-Jim

On 05/16/10 at 10:17pm Neil Heacock wrote:
This sounds like a great spot.

Have you been to the observing spot at Trout Lake? it's a great place for family observing in particular. Only 10 minutes or so from town where there is a general store, small restaurants, some shopping, and other small town stuff the family can do while you sleep during the day. The lake isn't much, but there are some GREAT hiking trails, water falls and the famous ice caves (bring some basic cold weather and dark cave gear if you want to go in there - warm clothes, headlamp flashlights, hiking boots, gloves, etc). 2.5 hours from Vancouver, good elevation, weak horizons, bathroom with no running water (a glorified outhouse) and Bortle 3 skies.

Maybe we can hook up one of these times and go observing together.

-Neil



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