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11/30/-1
    
Friday, June 15th, 2007
The Southwest Washington Stargazers Dark Sky Star Party (isn't that a mouth full?)
 
Friday June 15th 
This was a most excellent evening. Family, friends, and faint fuzzies. It doesn't get any better then that.
 
Once again, the forecast called for partly cloudy evening, but at ITS it's crystal clear. Narry a cloud to be seen. The sky is as dark as it gets in June since the sun is only down for a short period of time and the entire observing session is only about 4 and a half hours long.
 
We looked at a myriad of objects, but a particular object stands out.
 
Vesta - Asteroid
At 5.3 mag it's technically a naked eye object at ITS. However, I don't think you could distinguish it from the other stars in the region without a scope. It required Starry Night to determine the exact star field to know which 5th mag dot was Vesta.
 
It's my first time observing an asteroid. I was hoping to see it moving, but I sat there and stared at it for something like 10 minutes with no movement whatsoever. Then I came back to it about an hour later and same thing. It might be moving fast, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty slow. 
 
 
Saturday June 16th
Saturday was a different story. Starting early in the day the wind howled through the camp. Blustery gusts blew over tents and pushed the dobs around like weather vanes. Unfortunately, this kept up right into the evening. Though the sky was perfectly clear again and there was virtually no moisture in the air, the wind made for a much colder night and for my scope it made it nearly impossible to observe. After a few ridiculously bouncy views and shivers down my spine I gave up.

It was still nice to step outside now and then and look up at the clear dark sky. Binocular viewing was nice, but then a gust would come and remind me why I wasn't staying out long.
 
Anyway, something that was reinforced (from a negative standpoint) is that even if the sky is clear if the wind is blowing too strong then scope viewing is likely not going to happen.

Though I suppose binocular viewing is viable in such conditions, Saturday evening was simply too blustery for me to do any real viewing. Though I've viewed in both frigid and windy conditions, this was the first time that I've been at a dark sky location and not been able to view due to winds that were simply too strong.
 
Bummers.
 
Still, Friday was worth the trip alone. 






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