OTSP 2023 Updates

Decided to start this thread for general updates. Nothing much to report. Partly to mostly cloudy right now. Forecasts aren’t good for tonight, but we’re still hopeful here! 70 HS kids from Colorado are arriving in a few minutes. They’re running an hour late because they forgot about the time zone change…

They were going to climb to the high point on Black Mesa this afternoon, but now will probably get here too late to do that. Probably go up to Okie & Tex instead. Though hardly the same thing.

The presentations went well yesterday! They were well attended. I caught the Zoom presentation from JPL about the Cassini mission to Saturn. It was excellent! Looking forward to today’s presentations after the 40th anniversary party Jody is throwing after lunch.

And tonight is the first raffle drawing!!! I won a ZWO planetary camera at the PixInsight Class drawing. Jaxson tells me it’s a good one; I have no clue. I’ve won nice equipment twice in 3 years in the general drawings, but this was my first PixInsight win. I won the Grand Prize last year (not the Grand Grand Prize….), so it’s someone else’s turn this year.

Partyly cloudy today. Several folks have solar scopes out observing the sun. I may set up my Stellina this afternoon if it stays clear enough. The forecast is not good for tonight or Friday night, but is looking good right now for our event at Black Mesa State Park on Saturday evening. Everyone is still just standing by and hoping the forecasts are wrong.

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Quite a bit of solar observing right now. Sun in and out of the clouds. One of the vendors set up a solar telescope that allowed me to see the flares along the edges of the sun, which I can’t see with a white light filter. Very neat to see! I decided to fire up my Stellina and got this image of the sun. There’s quite a few sunspots visible right now!

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Saw the Big Dipper nice and bright about 2130 last night! Unfortunatley that was just about the only thing clear. Was completely cloudy when I was out later during the night. Heard a light rain on my trailer at 0545. Lasted about 20-30 min. Wet this morning, but the ground soaks it up fast, so if it doesn’t rain any more today, it should be good to start packing this afternoon. The second door prize drawing is tonight, which may be the main reason so many folks have stayed this long. The prizes are nice! And the odds are very good to win something, as a lot of folks left after Wednesday’s drawing.

Forecasts are calling for clear skies about dawn tomorrow. Eileen, Dave, Ida, Andy and I, maybe a few more, are moving to Black Mesa State Park tomorrow to hold an outreach observiting event with Pollyanna, the Park Ranger there. We’re still hoping to get the park certified as an International Dark Sky Site! And the forecasts are predicting clear skies tomorrow evening!

I’ll be heading home Sunday. As much as I like it here (and I do, even with the clouds!) it’ll be good to get home after 12 days away. I’m hoping my ZWO SeeStar S50 will be waiting for me when I get there! If it’s not, it’s supposed to arrive before the end of the month. I’m hoping it will live up to the hype!