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Posts Made By: Jeff Poplin

July 17, 2004 07:40 AM Forum: Star Parties

New Mexico - Enchanted Star Party - Oct

Posted By Jeff Poplin

This is a very nice star party, albeit a bit unusual from normal set-up-once-for-the-event gatherings. Most talks and events are centered on the NM Tech campus in Socorro. There are chances to observe within the campus at their observatory site, but only for a night. There is a small area in the observatory's "bunker" for lots of scopes. The sky is remarkably dark for being intown, due to the very successful lighting controls in Soccoro.

The dark site (Pound Ranch) is "officially" used only Friday and Saturday. This is where the famous chuck wagon dinner is held. Come hungry! The Pound Ranch is about a 45 minute drive from Socorro. Facilities are non-exsistent, portable toilets are available during the end of the week. If you only want to observe and not take part in the other activities, you must supply everything for yourself.

New this year is the chance to observe from the future site of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory. I have not been to this spot, so I cannot comment on it, but the picture I've seen is intriguing. Again, this is a one nighter, so it would be a crap-shoot, weatherwise.

The VLA insider's tour was well worth the time. Jon Spargo's enthusiasm and details are delighful and entertaining. I only wish they would offer a viewing of "Contact" sometime during the week. After taking the tour, watching the movie is fun, seeing all the spots where you just stood.

The folks behind Enchanted Skies have worked hard at providing a well rounded , something-for-everyone event. Due to location differences and the number of choices available, you can't possibly do it all - especially if the skies are clear and you observe all night. On the other hand, if clouds are persistent, there is plenty of other things to do. As with so many other things in life, it's a balancing act between choices and at this star party you have plenty to make.

My visit to ESSP was in 2001, just after 9/11 and attendance was down, probably due to the preceding month's tragedies. I was disappointed in the turnout, but the folks I met were terrific and I had a lot of fun. More preparation on my part (camping equipment) would have allowed me to get more out of the incredible, dark -truly enchanting- skies.

Hope this helps and have a good time! 8)

Another good review is here:

July 20, 2004 01:59 AM Forum: Home Observatories

History Channel: Observatories Tuesday 7-20-04

Posted By Jeff Poplin

Thanks for the heads-up! Lots of space related shows today.

July 26, 2004 01:25 AM Forum: Telescope Making

1st setup 16" F5 Carbon scope

Posted By Jeff Poplin

Looks great, David! Good job!

August 8, 2004 01:48 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

Omega Region from New Mexico

Posted By Jeff Poplin

Simply beautiful, Mark!

August 11, 2004 01:23 AM Forum: Telescope Making

Alien technology in ATM project.....

Posted By Jeff Poplin

That is one sweet looking setup, David. I love the attention to detail and the contrast between the metal, wood, carbon fiber and glass. A nice hybrid of conventional and "alien" technology. smile

So, do we Carolina observers get to blame you for "Bonnie" and "Charley" headed this way for the Perseid/New Moon weekend? grin

September 3, 2004 01:44 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Ramps for 25" dob

Posted By Jeff Poplin

The low cost alternative is to build your own. Look at your local home improvement store (in the lawn/garden area) for a pair of ramp tops. Stop by the lumber rack and pick up 2 2x8's (8 foot). Bolt on each top, trim board to maximum length that will fit in your van.

This is one of many sites with pics:

I fabricated a pair of folding ramps using these tops to load/unload my 20" dob in a pickup. They have worked great for over 2 years.

Hope this helps,

September 5, 2004 01:57 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Funny ads

Posted By Jeff Poplin

It's the "thrill of the hunt"!

Could this trend you've noticed be based on our primordial hunter/gatherer ancestors? I find myself fixating on an object (scope/eyepiece/accessory, etc.) and will spend days or weeks hunting down prospective targets. Once located, I pounce - pays the price and waits for delivery. When finally "mine", I relish in its newness and the addition to my collection of "stuff".

Soon, the newness is worn off, the latest addition used and is either up to expectations or not. Now, depending on the bank account - I can return to the hunt. With sufficent funds, more stuff is tracked. A low balance will dictate another type of hunt required - one that our ancestors would have a hard time understanding - CASH! Then a choice must be made; sell off parts my collection or work more for more money. Personal circumstances will decide the path taken.

Now, back to the hunt. Got my eye on a few choice morsels in the classsified section... grin

September 12, 2004 04:51 PM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

In between the Hurricanes: NGC 457

Posted By Jeff Poplin

I'll vote for E.T.

I see him with his arms outstrecthed, looking up over Elliot's workbench. Mumbling, "Hmmmmmmmmmm" smile

Nice shot, Ivan! Love the star colors.

September 27, 2004 01:42 AM Forum: Home Observatories

Dome to go please........

Posted By Jeff Poplin

Not bad, David. I want one!

But I think a tri-axle trailer would support the weight better. grin

October 5, 2004 01:47 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Solar System

M15 this morning

Posted By Jeff Poplin

Fantastic job, Jose!
Thanks for posting.

Time for new wallpaper... 8)