Observatory Reports

  • 15 May 2013 10:14 AM | Anonymous member
    Friday, 14 May 2013
    CoE Star Party

    Jim Sheets
    Guests: 7
    Opened  observatory at 8:30pm, group of 7 arrived at 9:00pm.
    Sky conditions, hazy, high thin clouds about 40% cover. Viewed
    Crescent Moon and Saturn, did asterism tour with what was available.
    Answered lots of questions and chatted (talking points) for a while.
    The group departed at 10:00pm. I waited until 10:20, then closed.
    The Harlin Smith worked well after I snugged the Declination friction
    ring just a bit. The roof pull ropes were all bunched and knotted while
    opening the roof, so I made sure that they were stowed correctly in the
    wall canisters after closing. The grounds need to be mowed. I will 
    suggest at the office that they have LCRA get on that task. 

    Jim Sheets
    Host: Longhorn Cavern State Park

    Astronomer: Canyon of the Eagles
    Mailing address:
    PO Box 356
    Burnet, TX 78611


  • 14 May 2013 8:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Friday May 3, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Darin Koch
    Guests: 35

    Observatory clean, scopes working, internet still not working, monitor and all other lights working. We had a clear night with no Moon, little to no wind. The first car arrived with a family of 4, and the dad helped me to install the Forrest plaque on the Ealing when it was getting dark. The seeing was 5/10, but improved to about 7/10.

    We viewed Jupiter (4 moons) with Io about to touch the disk, M51 (Forrest), M81, M3, M13, Saturn (Smith). M51 was extraordinary! Dust lanes easily detected. It tracked perfectly all night.

    I showed the guests 'Starry Night Deluxe' constellations and animated planets movements and an animation on the big screen and later turned it off for good dark skies. One couple from Georgia lingered and wanted to see Saturn at its highest and they were the last to leave. They were very pleased at its sharp rings.

    Temp bottomed out at 42º F, and I managed to remain in my denim shorts as there was no wind!
    Shut down at 11:45p and stayed in the camper for early departure for TSP next morning.
  • 01 May 2013 6:06 PM | Anonymous member

    CoE Star Party

    Monday 29 April 2013

    Jim Sheets

    16 Guests


    Arrived at CoE about 8:30pm and checked in at front desk, they had a party that wanted to

    start at 9:00pm. Open the observatory and set up the Ealing on Jupiter and the Harlin on

    the Orion Nebula. It was mostly cloudy everywhere except in the west. The guests enjoyed 

    those views along with some talking points.  Fortunately, Saturn became visible about 9:45

    and I got a few "Wow's" with that image. The group left all at once about 10:30 just as the 

    rest of the sky was clearing. I used the scopes for personal viewing until around 11:30 then

    closed. The building and grounds were clean and in good shape.

    Jim Sheets
    Host: Longhorn Cavern State Park

    Astronomer: Canyon of the Eagles
    Mailing address:
    PO Box 356
    Burnet, TX 78611



  • 28 Apr 2013 9:51 AM | Anonymous member
    CoE Star Party
    Saturday 27 April 2013
    Jim Sheets
    Guests: 18
    Got a call, short notice, to open the observatory, as Mark F. was not available.
    Arrived at CoE at 7:30. The sky was mostly overcast. Opened the roof and prepped the
    scopes for use. Around 8:30 the western sky was partly cloudy and I was able to show
    the guests on hand the wonder of Jupiter. It was visible for about an hour and everyone
    present got a look.
    The grounds were clean and the building was in good shape. I had to snug the declination
    clutch on the Harlin, as it was too loose to hold position.
    Most of the guests left by 9:30. two couples lingered for conversation for a while.  Began
    closing at 10:00. More guests arrived... the sky was opaque. More guests arrived...
    Did talking points until 11:00.   

    Jim Sheets
    Host: Longhorn Cavern State Park

    Astronomer: Canyon of the Eagles
    Mailing address:
    PO Box 356
  • 27 Apr 2013 1:09 PM | Anonymous member
    From: startracker75@hotmail.com
    Saved: Sat 4/26/13 1:07 PM
    To: EEO


    CoE Star Party
    Friday, 26 April 2013
    Jim Sheets
    30 Guests
    Arrived at CoE and checked in at 7:45pm. The sky was mostly cloudy.
    Opened the roofs and activated the 12-1/2 Harlin.  Had just enough clearing
    in the western sky to have the early guests observe Jupiter. By 8:30 some parents
    and a Cub Scout troupe had joined the few who were already present. The sky had
    several layers of clouds and in some areas there were high, thin ceros clouds that were
    thin enough to faintly see some asterisms. Did a laser pointer tour where possible.
    I spent most of the evening doing talking points about the solar system and deep space.
    fielded numerous questions until the group left at 10:30.
    Closed up and left at 10.45

    Jim Sheets
    Host: Longhorn Cavern State Park

    Astronomer: Canyon of the Eagles
    Mailing address:
    PO Box 356
    Burnet, TX 78611



  • 21 Apr 2013 4:50 PM | Anonymous member
    Saturday Apr 20, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    James Hall & Tara Heine
    Guests: 90

    Tara and I arrived just before 7pm.  Grounds mostly good, some trash in the parking lot and grounds, but easily picked up.  Weeds along the path are about due to be mowed, but not too bad yet.  Tara setup her 10 inch Intelliscope while I checked out the observatory.

    Observatory was secure and clean, equipment looked good, eye piece cases looked good. There is one chair that is pretty torn up with padding mostly exposed.  It is located on the north wall that I meant to take out of the observatory, but I forgot, so I'll have to grab it next time.  It's just seen better days. 

    Scopes working mostly well but the Harlan kept trying to float into the vertical position when I was trying to target several objects.  It was almost like it had too heavy of a counter weight on it in back.  I'll have to follow up with Darin if any thing has been adjusted recently. 

    Internet not working, but the large display and all other lights turned on and working well.   I hooked up the apple TV to the iPad and started the iPad mirroring.  Cars started arriving immediately so I put the 16 inch scope on the sun and the Harlan for those early bird observers.

    The iPad wireless connection to the display quit working about 9:00 p.m. So I just switched to pointing at the iPad itself through the night to show off moon landing spots and current orbits of the planets. 

    Guest came and went in groups all night, it was hard to keep track of an actual count, but was at least 90.  The moon light kept the path well lit all the way to the parking lot.  Note: I like the red solar lights that someone added to the entrances.  Thanks to whoever did that, I think it was a great idea.

    It stayed clear of clouds all night.  The seeing was poor at times but not too bad.  Tara and I helped everyone viewed the Moon, Jupiter (4 moons), Saturn, Orion Nebula, Mizar, Betelgeuse, Sirus.  I also gave normal sky tour of constellations  AAS history, and notice about upcoming events. 

    Lots of boy scouts and guests asking questions and having a great time.  Nice mix of children and adults.  The best part of the night was when this boy saw Jupiter. His mouth dropped open and yelled "Wow!"  He had the biggest smile on his face as he quickly got back into line to see it again.

    Many guests noted they would return to the public star party nights.  Donations in box.

    Secured the observatory at 11:30 p.m.  Temp in low 50's, wind gusting.

    All in all a great night.  I can't wait until next time.  :)
  • 20 Apr 2013 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Friday Apr 19, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Darin & Dana Koch
    Guests: 15

    Observatory clean, scopes working, internet not working, monitor and all other lights working.   We had a clear night with 65% waxing gibbous Moon, wind 0-5mph from east.  The first car arrived and i could smell cigarette smoke in the observatory from them from the parking area!  So that's how i knew the wind had to be from the easst.  The seeing was poor due to the front that moved thru earlier.  

    We viewed the Moon, Jupiter (4 moons), M42, M51, M3, M13, Saturn.  As poor as the seeing was 2/10, it had at times improved to about a 6/10 in short brief bursts of a second here and there where you could tell that Jupiter had some detail in its eq bands.  So overall, the guests greatly enjoyed the views thru both telescopes.  M51 could barely see extended detail due to the 65% lit Moon.

    I showed the guests 'Starry Night Deluxe' constellations and animated planets movements and an animation of the 4-8-2024 total solar eclipse that will commence in 11 years on the site.  A little boy was very fascinated by that.   I know i've got to learn my Starry Night Pro 4.5 software more, but always seem to have a hard time going between the two.

    Temp bottomed out at 50º F.

    Left at 11:23p

  • 16 Apr 2013 8:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Friday Apr 12, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Darin & Dana Koch
    Guests: 40

    Grounds good, both scopes working good, all lights in working condition. A fine evening with good clear skies, not great transparency, but reasonable allowing us to see worthwhile deep sky objects. We had 2 good pushes of visitors at first, about 17 in each, then a few more trickled in. I worked on the HDTV to get the ND filter back in place and attached several more black plastic tabs with 3M double sided tape that won't come off anytime soon without great effort.

    We saw Jupiter, M42, M46, M51, M65-66, M3, M13, M81-82. I played several movies (LRO Apollo landing sites, star sizes, galaxie collisions) and showed them my two hi-res Hubble photos of M51 and M31 Halo deep field and zoomed to show the incredible details. Guests really liked that.

    A very mild evening, got down to about 61º or so.

    Left just after 11:30p
  • 31 Mar 2013 7:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Friday Mar. 29, 2013
    CoE Star Party
    Darin & Dana Koch
    Guests: 45

    The grounds were good, the building, telescopes in good condition. Weather was partly cloudy at first, but later turned mostly cloudy. Then it cleared to see Jupiter, M42, M51, so several guests were treated to good views of Jupiter and 4 moons. Ealing and Harlan tracked well.

    During cloudy times, we showed guests movies and pictures on the big screen, then turned off to show the skies when it cleared. A wedding was going on at the lodge, but many guests still ventured out during the improbable skies. I really didn't think it was going to clear, but it did, but was slightly thin cloudy up high.

    I worked a little more on the 11" Celestron CPC in the Ruof observatory. David Ault could not come out due to work duties. So I went in to record the firmware versions from each of the two hand paddles so we can begin to troubleshoot why it's not aligning. But this time using the illustrated handpaddle from the manual, it was most stubborn at doing anything correctly. Pressing a slew direction would send the scope slewing but would not stop after letting up... unless press the UNDO button to stop. It would not track at all after manual setting it.

    So hopefully, this Saturday, we can try again with David to figure out what the problem is.

    Temp 64º.
  • 24 Mar 2013 10:21 AM | Anonymous member
    Canyon of Eagles Star Party
    March 23, 2013
    Guests: Around 150
    Operator: James Hall

    Tara and I arrived at Canyon of Eagles Park about 6:30 pm.  Checked in at the office to let them know the observatory would be open soon.  Then we headed out to the Eagle Eye Observatory.  Grounds good. Observatory Secure. Opened up.  Scopes powered on and tracked about 90%. I forgot to check internet.

    Roof opened.  Parking lights up.  Tara setup her 10 inch Dob in the field while I hooked up the iPad mirroring to the observatory display.  We brought Emily, she's almost 5 now, and we wanted to bring her out now that it was a little warmer. We set her up with a tent in the back of the truck.

    The sky was about 30% cloud cover but was quickly clearing up.  The moon was almost full and seemed about 80% waxing gibbous so it was pretty bright blocking out most deep sky objects.  Jupiter was easily seen and targeted all night long.

    Guest started arriving immediately just after dark and wow did they fill the observatory.  It was standing room only for quite a period of time.  I had to open another door to the observatory just to make it feel less crowded and give more room for people to get in and out.  Tara looked just as swamped with people in a large line out in the field.  We actual lost count of people in the dark. It could have been well over 150.  It was just good to see so many children and adults excited about what they were viewing.  Boy scouts were also there asking questions and all were intrigued with the many different astronomy apps that were projecting on the display.  The favorites tonight were Exoplanet and Distant Suns 3.

    Presented normal sky tour of visible constellations.  AAS History.  Public Star Party nights.  It was good to hear that several people were going to come back for those.  Donations in box.

    Guests all left by 11:00 pm.

    Noticed that Saturn came up about 11:30 in the east as we were finishing closing up. 

    Packed up and left about 11:40 p.m.   Temp 58 degrees.

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