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Posts Made By: Fred Lusk

July 9, 2013 05:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Holy Crap! Dark Skies!

Posted By Fred Lusk

That sounds wonderful. The Eastern Sierra can be very dark. I have heard that Grandview Campground in the White Mountains is spectacular and I know from experience how dark Death Valley can be. My wife and I visited Bodie State Historical Park two weeks ago and it's probably outstanding at night except that the park is daytime only.

In the summer, our club uses a primitive camping site near Courtright Reservoir (elevation 8200') in eastern Fresno County that is one of the best sites on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The site is a vehicle accessible, 5000+ sf, level granite slab. It has a good to excellent NW-N-E-S-SW horizon. The site is usually Bortle Class 2, though sometimes a little better and sometimes a little worse (haze to the SSW can show the light dome from Visalia, which is about 60 miles away). I was at Courtright this past weekend, but for some reason (probably proximity to July 4) none of the rest of our regulars made it up. I entertained a bunch of rock climbers on Friday and a Fresno State physics professor and his wife on Saturday along with a couple of hikers who obviously never passed a science class. Saturday evening was slightly darker than Friday but also a little breezy. I usually bring my 8" SCT, but for this trip I only took my 5" SCT because I was trying out my new Celestron Advanced VX mount (a very good mount BTW). The physics prof was amazed at how much my 5" SCT could show, but his point of comparison is an aged and apparently low quality 4" Newt. Anyway, it was loads of fun and after the "tourists" went to bed, I had another 3 to 4 hours of pure solitude under a bright Milky Way. Come to think of, it was kind of nice that the rest of my club didn't show up. smile

July 9, 2013 05:36 PM Forum: Telescope Making

Help - please?

Posted By Fred Lusk


Please allow me to also express my sympathy for your husband's passing. I agree that Astromart is your best bet if you want to sell the mirror blanks.

There are a couple of other things to think about:
1. In addition to the mirror blanks, your husband probably had other things in his workshop related to mirror grinding such as tools, abrasives, etc. I don't grind mirrors so I can't tell you everything you should look for, but it's probably there somewhere. We have a club member who used to be a part-time professional mirror maker. He had turned his entire garage into a mirror shop. He had three machines that did the initial grinding, a setup to test mirrors, and lots of other tools, gadgets, and supplies. Depending on how much your husband put into this activity, he could have a little or a lot of this type of stuff.
2. Did your husband have any friends who also did mirror grinding and/or did he belong to a local astronomy club? These people may be able to help you sort all this out. Even if he didn't belong to a club, they may still be able to help you.
3. If you are interested in donating the mirrors and other stuff, I suggest contacting the people I mentioned in #2.

I hope this helps.


August 16, 2013 11:41 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Yosemite Miscellenia

Posted By Fred Lusk

Moving on to Yosemite Falls. Right now Yosemite Falls has about as much water as a garden hose can put out. Yosemite Falls has a decent sized watershed, but most of it is bare granite. Thus, when the snow is gone, so is the waterfall. I took this photo from the upper portion of the Four Mile Trail. I didn't hike the entire thing; instead, I did an out-and-back to the top of the switchbacks.

I can't tell you how many people I have met over the years who come to Yosemite in the fall (or late summer after a bad snow year) and expect to see waterfalls running like in the brochures and are thus disappointed. Unlike much of the world, most of California has a Mediterranean climate, which means mild and somewhat wet winters and generally dry summers. A word to the wise: if you want to see waterfalls, visit Yosemite in April, May, or June.

September 8, 2013 09:44 PM Forum: ASTRONOMY

your most used scope

Posted By Fred Lusk

I use my Celestron CPC-800 about 90% of the time. It's large enough to go deep and small enough to be easily set up in the back yard or transported to another site. It's ideal for public star parties.

I also have a Celestron C5+ (my first telescope) that I now mostly use for wide-field piggyback astrophotography and sometimes for terrestrial photography on a photo tripod. I use the C5+ about 20% of the time.

How did I get to 110%? Well, several times each year I set up both scopes, using the CPC-800 for visual while the C5+ is supporting a 35-mm camera. Oh, and when I recently upgrade the mount for C5+ to the Advanced VX, I picked out a 6" Newt because it was only $100 more. However, I have only used the 6" twice.

October 4, 2013 05:41 PM Forum: Politics

Israel Stands Alone

Posted By Fred Lusk

I watched this video and I agree with your assessment. In stark contrast, however, was the AP (?) article in today's Fresno Bee, which made it sound like Netanyahu delivered a shrill and stinging rebuke to the USA and to the rest of the world. In fact, Netanyahu delivered a statesman like speech that included concern not just for Israel, but for his Arab neighbors as well. Too bad they won't reciprocate. I don't agree with Netanyahu on some things, but he hit the nail on the head with this speech.

October 11, 2013 09:09 AM Forum: Bad to the Bone Autos

New scope hauler...

Posted By Fred Lusk

One of the older guys in our club -- owner of a gas station and auto repair shop -- has two scope haulers: a beat up 1970s era K5 Chevy Blazer and a 2012 Corvette. When he brings his old 8" SCT, he uses the Blazer. When he brings his new 6" refractor, he brings his Corvette. That seems likes a reasonable approach. :-)

October 20, 2013 04:11 PM Forum: Comets

Comet ISON Oct. 15, 2013

Posted By Fred Lusk

WOW! That is an excellent image. The visual proximity of four different objects at three (±) vastly different differences is awesome to contemplate.

April 16, 2014 09:49 PM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Total Lunar Eclipse (2014-04-14/15)

Posted By Fred Lusk

An hour later, at 11:57 p.m., the Moon looked like this.

April 16, 2014 09:55 PM Forum: After Dark

The Rusty Moon

Posted By Fred Lusk

I was able to watch most of it, but clouds were a problem here also. I just posted six photos in the Digital SLR Astrophotography section.

April 24, 2014 10:17 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

Are you sitting down? You are going to like this!!

Posted By Fred Lusk

That was excellent. Thanks for posting.

I was going to attempt a time lapse, but technical glitches (i.e. operator error) and clouds spoiled the attempt. I got some decent individual images, but that's about all. I will try again in October.