Monday, August 19, 2013

McCloud Nature Park Public Star Gaze

I attended my first IAS event this weekend, a public stargaze at the McCloud Nature Park. It was a little hazy, but we were able to observe some double stars and Saturn. I even caught a glimpse of M13, but it was very faint.

I didn't bring my scope or camera to this event, but I wish I had. The moon was out and waxing gibbous, so it would have made an easy target for my basic refractor. I did, however, spend a lot of time looking through other scopes and learning a lot!

There were about 30 people there in total. Once I got over the fact that I didn't know anyone, it was a pretty fun time.

The park is out in the middle of frickin nowhere - which is the point, but wow. It took me about 35 minutes driving west of Brownsburg. It was a little unnerving going from county roads, to roads with no lines, to single lane roads with no lines, to gravel roads. The park is available as an observing site to group members, so apparently I can call any day I want and ask them to turn the lights off for me at night. Pretty cool if I know of anything worth the drive. Maybe ISON this winter will be worth the trip to dark(er) skies.

mccloud nature park star gazing
Entrance to the McCloud Nature Park

Skies were hit or miss, with some cool wisps as well

mccloud nature park star gazing
Cool! Concrete observing pads with individual power sources. Everyone seemed to favor the small hill, however, to get over the fog that rolled in.

mccloud nature park star gazing
Looking down a Dob

mccloud nature park star gazing
View from the top of the (very) small hill. 

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