Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

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2011 Messier Marathon


SCDVA Messier Star Party by LJH

Click on arrow above to hear
A Message from Charles Messier


They came from far and wide

We want to report that our first, ever, Messier Marathon Star Party held on March 5th and 6th earlier this month was an absolute blast!

From left to right
Steve Peeters of Yucaipa - Mike Ratcliff of Redlands and
Cliff Saucier of San Bernardino

Scopes of all kinds, even the Monster 32"

Cliff - Rick Hiestand aka telescope operater number 1 and
Felix from Long Beach State, watching as Rick sets up do the spectrograph.

Telescope Operator Number II
Looking Bright eyed and bushy Tailed & Rarin to go!

Images of the objects were on the screens so fast that we flew through the first part of the list until the sky ran out of targets to shoot for!

The images kept coming

Many of the delights viewed were objects that are often overlooked when we present our regular star parties. The mix was really exciting as there are some beauties that are often left off the list when there are so many favorites that steal the show.

The Owl and a Spirial Galaxy

All Images are live & being projected on 9 x 16 ft. screens

M60 and M97 were brilliant and interesting, though, seldom on the general list of objects in our regular show. M1, the Crab Nebula was at near zenith when we looked at it. The filament structures and growing nebulosity was stunning.
A tan blue hue could be clearly seen and the bright core area was visible with good detail.

An enthusiastic crowd of visitors were amazed at how many objects they saw in such a short period of time. Ric Knudson and Paul McCudden emceed the objects as they hit the screens and added the info that explained what we were seeing and details about size, distance, and relevance that the objects had and was of interest.


Visiting astronomers, Cliff Saucier, Steve Peeters, Mike Ratcliff joined in with their big dobs doing visual observing while Rick Heistand presented some exciting spectral work on stars that added a bit of insightful science to the show. And a thanks to Don Stoutenger, of the Joshua Tree National Park Service, who produced some great late night images on the big screen.

Don does a night sky presentation in the park at Indian Cove every Friday night during the spring and early summer. If you in the area be sure to check it out.

                   Image with spectro analysis on the right

Leonard Holmberg had his smoking bad CPC landing brilliant views on the screens and in all, created a great time to those in the mood for a deep space experience.





Open Clusters

By the time the sky started to catch up with us, most of the diehards were the only ones hanging to see how far we could push the limits of our tiring bodies. The long day prepping for the event made for a weary bunch when it got to the wee hours of the last stretch in the arduous expectations the event requires. At the end, it was one, lone, astronomer holding the line, sitting on an observing chair, visually experiencing the last of the collection through the 32 reflector. Sleepy eyed, though!

Saturn & M51

Sombrero Galaxy

There is every reason to count on this to be an annual event and we will be looking forward to the future when we can make everyone stay up all night, again!