Jul 012018
 

I made the 13 hour trip up to Cherry Springs State Park for the Annual CSSP Star Party hosted by the Astronomical Society of Harrisburg PA, Inc. I went up a few days before the star party since it’s always helpful to get a good spot.  Those of us that were there early on Monday night were treated to a fabulous night with SQM measurements >21.9!  Overall it was an amazing streak of clear weather for PA with a total of 4 imaging nights.  I was hoping for one or two so as not to set my expectations too high so I was very pleased with four nights!

I even did a little visual at low power with a 4″ refractor.  LDN 1795 (large 50’x50’dark nebula in Scorpius) looked absolutely amazing to me at 19X.  First time I had a WOW moment visually.

 

Waiting for Darkness

 

Just Some Slightly Concerning Weather Passing Through
Everything is buttoned up and locked down. Luckily it skirted us to the North.

 

Rho Region
Canon 6D @ ISO 3200
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 5.6

 

B312 on the Edge of Sagittarius and Scutum
Canon 6D @ ISO 3200
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 @f/4
8x240sec Exposure

 

M8 & M20 Nestled Among the Stars
Canon 6D @ ISO 3200
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 @ f/4
10x240sec total exposure

 

CSSP 2018 Milky Way
Canon 6D @ ISO 3200
Canon 17-40mm f/4 @ f/6.7 and 37mm
1 x 240 seconds

 

The North American Nebula And The Pelican
Canon 6D @ ISO 3200
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 @ f/4.5
10x240sec exposure

 

The Cave Nebula
Tak FSQ-106ED
SX-46 w/ Maxi Wheel and Lodestar OAG
AP900GTO Mount
6.5 Hours Exposure Time over two nights

 

The Cocoon Nebula
FSQ-106ED
SX-46 w/ Maxi Wheel and Lodestar OAG
AP900GTO
3 hours total Exposure

Nov 062016
 

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Moved the 68″ tall pier to the observatory deck this afternoon.  Progress!

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I didn’t get the pier into place until after dark so no pictures.  It was a chore moving the thing since it’s quite heavy and I didn’t have any help but with the tractor I was able to drag it around and lower it onto the bolts after an hour….

Nov 032016
 

trenching

The site has been cleared, I think I dug out 70+ stumps with the backhoe, 700 feet of electric cable buried, and almost 4,000 lbs of concrete dry mix poured for footers and the telescope pier.  The deck is starting to go up and hopefully the 8″ Exploradome will be in place before the new year.  After two years it’s hard to believe that I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

 

observe

 

 

 

 

Jun 192016
 

Site clearing is now well underway with a backhoe rental.  Most of the site is now cleared and a new, more drive-able, road is in place to get to the site.  Lots of clean up and grading to do but we’re getting there.

Dec 282015
 

We’re coming up on the end of 2015.  I had high hopes of getting more finished this year but all things considered, things are moving along.  It shouldn’t be too long and our new garage with workshop will be finished which will allow me to layout imaging systems somewhere other than in our bedrooms….  From there, I hope to get the Exploradome up and running in 2016 with the OGS 10″ RC and U16 acting as the workhorse imaging system.

 

Digging out a few large stumps

Digging out a few large stumps

Aerial view of the observatory site.  Needs a lot of cleanup.

Aerial view of the observatory site. Needs a lot of cleanup.

Testing the OGS 10" RC

Testing the OGS 10″ RC

Nov 212015
 

Observatory site prep is still moving along slowly.  Pulling stumps is a long process but I’m getting there.  At least the summer heat is behind me but the limited daylight is making it hard to get much done on the weekdays.

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Here’s what the site is looking like.  Starting to look a little more open.

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20151121_161316

Oct 132014
 

I am starting to pack up Campmeeting Observatory in preparation for a move to Knoxville, TN.  It has only been a short 3 years that Campmeeting Observatory has been in operation but I am sure it will find a new home.  For the time being, updates will be seldom as other priorities will take center stage and extensive observatory site preparation may be required.

 

Moving

Deconstructing the Observatory

Aug 202014
 

Thursday night at Wagman was one of the most transparent nights I’ve ever seen at Wagman.  The MW was easily visible and dipping further into the south than usual.  I took a few pictures around the observatory to try and show how nice the view was.

 

Jul 302014
 

Development of our rural countryside is rapidly increasing due to emergent industries like oil and gas.  A single industrial site is often lit up like a little town on the map making one wonder if residential, commercial, or industrial development is the true light pollution problem?

Click on the Images below for an animation comparing Light Pollution levels in 2003 to 2012.

Greene County LP 2003 vs 2012

AAAP Greene County Site with Light Pollution growth from 2003 to 2012

 

Pittsburgh Area Light pollution growth from 2003 to 2012.

Pittsburgh Area Light pollution growth from 2003 to 2012.

Apr 242014
 

Two of us spent Wednesday night at the Greene County Observing Site.  It had been almost 6 months since we’d been there last due to this years cold and snowy winter.  As always the light pollution continues to grow everywhere so I took panoramic shots of the site in daylight and at night to show the current lights in the SE and S primarily.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take them from the same spot or at the same focal length so they aren’t 100% comparable but they give you an idea.

 

Greene County Observing Site

Greene County Observing Site at Night