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PostPosted: February 24th, 2013, 7:19 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Posts: 3789
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
The GPS coordinates for the HGSP are 31.37˚N, 93.42˚W.

These are the times for civil twilight in Florien...
13 March = 7:46pm CDT
14 and 15 March = 7:47pm CDT
16 March = 7:48pm CDT

There is going to be a wealth of objects and events to watch during the Hodges Gardens Star Party, including but not limited to...
Jupiter's Great Red Spot = 15 March from 8:05pm to 9:35pm

Saturn = each morning after 12:15am

Canopus = nightly from 7:49pm to 8:28pm [The separating of its standard color into a rainbow of flashes is awesome. It will be about five degrees up.]

Omega Centauri = nightly from 2:50am to 3:32am [It will be about eleven degrees up. Even through all that atmosphere it looks amazing.]

Earth's Moon
13 March = 7:47pm to 8:32pm [2.2 days old, in Pisces]
14 March = 7:48pm to 9:29pm [3.2 days old, in Aries]
15 March = 7:48pm to 10:23pm [4.1 days old, in Aries]
16 March = 7:49pm to 11:16pm [5.0 days old, in Taurus]

{The objects below can be seen best after astronomical twilight, if possible. The cut-off times listed are for an altitude of thirty degrees.}
Owl Nebula = all throughout darkness
Little Dumbbell = until 8:37pm
Double Cluster = until 9:39pm
Sunflower Galaxy = after 9:43pm
Whirlpool Galaxy = after 9:48pm
Ghost of Jupiter = after 9:50pm
Pleiades = until 10:07pm
Blackeye Galaxy = after 10:15pm
Orion Nebula = until 10:32pm
Sombrero Galaxy = after 11:17pm
Crab Nebula = until 11:38pm
Hercules Cluster = after 1:17am
Eskimo Nebula = until 1:34am
Beehive Cluster = until 2:39am
Ring Nebula = after 3:34am

Of course, the object on everyone's mind is Comet PANSTARRS, which will probably reach a maximum magnitude of ~3.0. Assuming a western horizon of five degrees, PANSTARRS can be seen at the party during these times...
13 March = 7:11pm to 8:07pm
14 March = 7:15pm to 8:10pm
15 March = 7:19pm to 8:13pm
16 March = 7:23pm to 8:15pm


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 12:11 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Posts: 3789
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Below is the current forecast from NOAA for Florien at 11pm each night of the Party...

Wednesday the 13th
Temperature: 11˚C
Dewpoint: 5˚C
Surface Wind: NE 8 k/hr
Wind Chill: na
Relative Humidity: 61%
Sky Cover: 21%
Precipitation Potential: 0%

Thursday the 14th
Temperature: 14˚C
Dewpoint: 6˚C
Surface Wind: S 10 k/hr
Wind Chill: na
Relative Humidity: 59%
Sky Cover: 18%
Precipitation Potential: 0%

Friday the 15th
Temperature: 16˚C
Dewpoint: 11˚C
Surface Wind: S 11 k/hr
Wind Chill: na
Relative Humidity: 69%
Sky Cover: 42%
Precipitation Potential: 0%

Saturday the 16th
Temperature: 18˚C
Dewpoint: 14˚C
Surface Wind: S 11 k/hr
Wind Chill: na
Relative Humidity: 76%
Sky Cover: 50%
Precipitation Potential: 10%

This be will a wonderful party, I'm sure. The 50% cloud cover on Saturday night could be better but I'll take it!


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PostPosted: March 22nd, 2013, 3:51 pm 
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Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Posts: 3789
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
The Hodges Gardens Star Party was wonderful! Ben and Ashley, Roslyn, Don and his family, John and Michele, Karen and her kids, Briar, Sam and his son, Trevor, Brad and Martha, Tom and his daughter, and others all went up some or part of the time. As usual the State Park staff was very friendly.

I spent Thursday and Friday nights attempting to pick up certain objects with mainly low magnification. I saw the "nurseries" M42 and M78 (my first "off-the-beaten-path" M object). I picked up open clusters like the Perseus Double Cluster, the Pleiades, the Beehive and M37; M37 is in Auriga. As I have very little experience in manually searching for dim deep-sky objects, I was happy to get Hind's Crimson Star, using 64 Eridani and other objects as guideposts.

Definitely the highlight of observing was when Trevor showed us the quasar 3C 273 in his scope.

Saturday afternoon many of us drove the eighty kilometers or so to Hemphill to visit the Patricia Huffman Smith "Remembering Columbia" Museum. Though the floor area is small the designers have certainly maximized its use. Artifacts and displays are interesting, and there is even a video documentary you can start that tells the story of the local community's part in the recovery of the Columbia debris.


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