Virginia Dale, Colorado

Greetings All,  (10/27/2K)
   Well for once I beat out the weather and got a night of star gazing. With a potential storm coming in for this weekend. V. Dale Star party site is between Ft. Collins, CO  and Laramie, WY  at 7560' elevation, 2000 feet west of  Hwy 287, and about 40 feet south of the Wyoming border.  It was cool (45*F), air was calm and slightly hazy, sky was clear until 1:40 and I was setup at 7pm. Is it dark there?   I could see the rift in the Milky Way at Zenith at 7:30. quite early I  thought (~6.81 limiting mag.@Zenith). I started shooting wide angle twilight shots (50mm@f/4) about 7:10.  Then Mars in Scorpius, Sagittarius & the M. W.  There were quite a few jets in that area at that time, so I delayed shots of the southern area until around midnight.
   After that it was dark enough to do 10 min. exposures. I experimented  with tracking but not guiding on U. Minor. I'll find out tomorrow if it  streaked. (Very Sharp).  Then took the Milky Way from Sag. to Delphinus, Lyra to Hercules, all   of Cygnus, I think I got the Veil Nebula (didn't).  Around 9:20 being quite dark, calm and clear, I started 10 min. exposures w/ a 200mm lens @ f/4 w/ 400 Kodak Gold. This gives a 10* x 7* field, (~6 power) but the tracking is a bit more demanding.
   So, I tried a new way of guiding and it should allow me more accuracy. I started this on the Veil nebula,  then the constellation of Lyra.  Was it dark?   Telescopically, I could see the 14.8 mag galaxy (IC1296) next to the Ring Nebula, then BOOM, clouds came in, well I warmed up for an hour and voila', it was clear again. Around midnight I got the coyote serenade, they couldn't have been more than 200 yards away and then STOPPED immediately.  Haunting!!
   I was in the area so I checked out NGC6543 in Draco, The Cat's Eye PN, quite distinct, easy to find with the guide stars that were visible, then back to the 200mm work, I got the North American Nebula in Cygnus and the dew started to roll in. With the clouds moving in from the west I turned my attention to the rising planets and Orion. After getting the Hyades & Jupiter,  I  concentrated on Orions'  Belt and Sword, hopefully the Nebula will show up well.  At 1:41 the murk reached Orion and I shut down the camera. 15 minutes later the whole sky was cloudy and I snuggled into my warm van and got a few hours of shut eye before packing it up and drivin' down the mountain.   All in all quite a successful foto session, if not the longest.  I  posted some of the good shots HERE.  Look under the Virginia Dale link. (Timeline Below)
    It Only Takes One
    Ask Any Dinosaur,    tomt
Setup 7:00pm Cool 45*F, Calm & hazy, Upper air calm, jet trails straight
           7:12pm  Take 3 min Twilight shot 50mm f/4   Still twilight                (1)
           7:13pm Can see Milky Way at 30* South
                          Waiting for jets to pass Sagittarius
           7:27 pm  Can see the Rift in Milky Way @ Zenith
           7:33-7:49  5 min twilight shot  Sag. & Milky Way                             (2)
                               2 min blockout for jets 1 E-W
                               2 min blockout for jets 2 E-W
                               1 min blockout for jet  3  N-S
           7:55-8:05  Ursa Minor- Tracking, but not guiding! Experiment!    (3)
                               Opened up laptop     50m f/4     Came out well
           8:15-8:25  Milky Way- Sag.  to Delphinus-  50mm f/4                      (4)
           8:37-8:47  Lyra to Hercules  50mm f/4  Guiding quality  5               (5)
           8:56-9:06  Cygnus (Veil?)   200mm f/4  Guiding quality 7                  (6)
                               ?Tracking slipping- Must Re-balance counter weights
           9:20-9:30  Veil Nebula/Cygnus 200mm f/4  Guiding quality 8.5         (7)
           9:35-9:46  Lyra  200mm f/4                                                                   (8)
         9:55-10:02  Lyra trying better guide star  Clouds came in.  Boom!!
                  Guiding very accurate.  Used refraction of Vega over another
                   very nearby dimmer star & kept them together.  Worked Well!!
                 11:25    Draco  Cat's Eye Nebula  NGC6543  Did some Visual for a while
      11:48-11:58   N. American Neb/Cygnus  9.5 guiding                             (9)
     12:35- 14:43   (8min)  Hyades & Jupiter   Wide field                            (10)
          1:05-1:10   Orion Belt & Sword            200mm f/4                             (11)
         1:16-1:25    Orion Belt & N. Star           200mm f/4                             (12)
         1:32-1:41    A of Orion, Jupiter, Hyades  murky Exposure
                               Clouds coming in from the west  Guiding Quality 9.2   (13)

               Western twilight, bright Venus & Antares just above the horizon 10/27/2K

   Looking SSW into the Milky Way & Sagittarius, The original shot has 5 jet trails, I obscured the 3 that
I saw. This is a 10 min. exposure with a 15 min duration. That's why the Rockies look jagged!!

Jupiter & Aldebaron above Orion  
The constellation of Orion and above bright Jupiter                                                                                                         Two Chicks Paintball (click on images)  
 and the red star Aldebaran in Taurus!                                                                                                                        Here are two images looking south the next hazy morning.

*                                                                                                           ***************************Oct. 17 2010 14:52pm***********************AstroFoto Page                                                                                               tjt 10/17/10