2013 Autumn Southern Star Party

posted: 1523 days ago, on Thursday, 2013 Mar 21 at 00:18
tags: astronomy, star party, Southern Star Party.

The 2013 Autumn SSP was held on March 14-17 at Bergwater Lodge near Montagu.

[standing, l.t.r.] Auke Slotegraaf, Gavin Lock, Jaco Wiese, Johann Swanepoel, Marietta Swanepoel, Ed Foster, Lynnette Foster, Leslie Rose, Baby Labuschagne, Wanda Labuschagne, Marcell Labuschagne, Alan Cassells, Rose Cassels, Paul Kruger. [sitting, l.t.r.] Eddy Nijeboer, Jannie Nijeboer, Dylan Lock, Anya Lock, Suki Lock, Iain Finlay, Henry Oliver. [inset, t.t.b] Evan Knox-Davies, Zulandi vd Westhuizen, Andre Richards, Sandy Struckmeyer, Ludwig Churr, Bruhn Coetzer, Juanita Goosen.

Alan Cassells writes:

The March 2013 SSP saw me arrive armed with my new “dobbie” and eager to use it in earnest.

I had agreed to present a talk on constellation mythology this time and found myself somewhat nervous at the prospect of the presentation. Thank you to all who listened so patiently – I hope you found the story as interesting and fantastical as I did when I first read it. It would be something should we be able to go back in time and interview one of those who would conclude such a story from a few asterisms in the heavens.

My nervousness did not deter my excitement however, at using my new scope from the Thursday through to Sunday early morning when we were blessed by Zeus and his four siblings with clear skies for all three nights. I am sure that his fifth sibling, Hades, lord of the underworld, had a lot to do with the clouds we did experience – bliksem!

What a fabulous weekend we had where all credit must go to Edward and Lynnette for their, as usual, impeccable arrangements which resulted in a memorable event. Hats off and cheers - Lynette and Edward! – I hope you have recovered, you guys were looking really tired...

Saturday night/Sunday morning turned out for me, to be my first big astronomy milestone. One which I will certainly remember for the rest of my days as I hunted for Proxima Centauri; the challenge Auke had handed me on Saturday. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I felt when Auke confirmed I had found it! Let alone all the unexpected congrats I received from everyone – what an awesome bunch of people the SSP attracts – I feel quite privileged to be a part of this group. I asked Auke to sign the challenge sheet and he scribed an arrow pointing to Proxima Centauri and wrote there “Alan was here”! That sheet is currently in a frame in a prominent place to be remembered as a personal first.

Rosemary spent some time with her binoculars identifying objects; in particular omega centauri and TUC 47 which she found unassisted – the bug has definitely bit her too (apart from some astronomical mosquitos) it will be dobbie sharing until such time as I can get a second scope for her. The photographic experts continue to stagger me with their brilliant photos and photographic innovation not to mention the incredible ingenuity all around and in particular of someone like Johan and his incredible telescope.

We have made such wonderful friends at the SSP; it is beginning to feel somewhat like a reunion every time we meet. Long may the SSP live!

[top] The quad of Bergwater Lodge, with lasers (during the What's Up) and telescopes (during observing setup). [bottom] Leslie Rose at his telescope, with Zulandi vd Westhuizen, Andre Richards and Paul Kruger in the background. [bottom-right] Alan Cassells at the eyepiece. Notice his sketch pad on a tripod.

Socialising at the SSP. Photos by Paul Kruger, Suki Lock and Auke Slotegraaf.

Lynnette Foster skryf:

Baie dankie aan almal wie hierdie SSP moontlik gemaak het. Sonder julle sou dit beslis nie so suksesvol gewees het nie. Met die oorspronklike oopmaak van die besprekings, was alle akkommodasie oor 'n kwessie van 48 uur opgeneem. Auke het in die kroeg geslaap en Ed en ekself in die sitkamer om dit sodoende te bewerkstellig om 4 ekstra persone te huisves. Dit was weereens 'n wonderlike ervaring en iets wat ons graag sou wou herhaal.

Soos gewoonlik het ons 'n dag vroeër by Pietersfontein Dam aangekom om dinge soos aflaai, uitpak, opsit van banners en die regskuif van die eetkamer af te handel voordat die res van die gaste arriveer. Sodoende het ons het 'n heerlike ekstra dag daar kon deurbring om sake deur te praat en te beplan. Dit was die eerste keer dat 'n SSP by Bergwater Lodge te Pietersfontein Dam aangebied was, alhoewel daar nou al heelwat deep-sky observing hier gedoen was. Ons sal op die terugvoervorms sien wat almal se kommentaar was en terugvoering aan almal hieroor gee.

Oor 'n kwessie van 2 dae het almal daar aangekom en ons is trots om ook twee persone vanuit die Cradock distrik te kon trek en selfs twee uit Johannesburg! Die ou staatmakers was almal daar en ons voel al soos 'n groot sterrekunde-familie. Daar was ook Saterdag 3 dagbesoekers omrede daar nie genoeg akkommodasie was om hulle vir die totale aantal dae te huisves nie.

Alhoewel almal bekommerd oor die weerstoestande was, was dit elke aand moontlik om sterrekunde te doen en almal het gebruik gemaak van die geleenthede wat daar was. Sonder al die ligbesoedeling en in absolute donkerte, is die SSP 'n wonderlike geleentheid vir amateur sterrekundiges en ook vir astrofotografie.

Daar was, soos gewoonlik, 'n interessante program, maar weens gesondheidsredes kon die hoofspreker nie die SSP bywoon nie en 'n tweede spreker het as gevolg van werksdruk en uitputting nie opgedaag nie.

Ons het 'n nuwe program-item gehad, naamlik “Test the Team” en dit het uitstekend gewerk. Ons sal beslis voortbou op hierdie konsep, en natuurlik sal die gewone Astro Pub Quiz volgende keer beslis ook weer terug wees op die program.

Dit was nou die 5de aanbieding van die Suidelike Sterrefees en by elke geleentheid leer ons iets, hetsy oor sterrekunde, of net bloot administratief of met die programbeplanning. Daar word reeds gewerk aan die volgende SSP en die beplanning daarvan is aan die gang.

Ons vertrou om almal weer in Oktober daar te sien. Kontak ons om jou naam op die "early bird" lys vir die Lente SSP in Oktober te plaas. Tot 'n volgende keer!

Test the Team and other indoor events at the SSP. Photos by Paul Kruger, Suki Lock and Auke Slotegraaf. The Team was [bottom-right] Gavin Lock, Johann Swanepoel, Evan Knox-Davies and Ed Foster.

Bergwater Lodge and surroundings. All photos by Paul Kruger.

Photos by Iain Finlay. [top-right] "Sterretjieskombuis" sale table. [bottom-left] Supper!

Deep-sky iamges by Leslie Rose. [top-left] Barnard 33 (The Horsehead). [top-right] NGC 5236 (Messier 83, the Southern Pinwheel). [bottom-left] IC 4628 (The Prawn). [bottom-right] Shooting the Prawn.

The southern Milky Way. [top-left] Photo by Auke Slotegraaf. Canon EOS 60D, 10-mm lens at f/4.0, 4-minute at ISO 640 on barn door. [top-right] Photo by Paul Kruger. Nikon D5000, 10-mm lens at f/3.5, 64-sec at ISO 3200. [bottom-left] Photo by Ed Foster. Nikon D5000, 18-mm lens at f/3.5, ISO 640. 15x 15-sec exposures processed in DeepSkyStacker. [bottom-right] Photo by Zulandi van der Westhuizen. Nikon D7000, 12-mm lens at f/3.8, 30-sec at ISO 4000.

[left-top] Dark Emu to eta Carinae. Photo by Ed Foster. Nikon D5000, 18-mm lens at f/3.5, 365-sec at ISO 400. [left-centre] Clouds over the Milky Way. Photo by Auke Slotegraaf. Canon 60D, 10-mm lens at f/4.5, 30-sec at ISO 6400. [left-right] Clouds below Orion. Photo by Paul Kruger. Nikon D5000, 10-mm lens at f/3.5, 30-sec exposure. [centre] Star trails, by Suki Lock. Canon EOS 60D, 18-mm lens at f/5.0, 899-sec at ISO 200. [right] Star trails, by Suki Lock. Canon EOS 60D, 18-mm lens at f/3.5, 2027-sec at ISO 200.

Photos by Paul Kruger. [left] Composite star trails, duration 5 hours 4 minutes. Nikon D5000, 10-mm lens at f/3.5, 30-second exposure + noise reduction + one-minute delay. 20:57 to 02:01. [right-top] Crescent Moon. Nikon D5000, prime-focus of 6-inch Newtonian, 0.5-sec exposure at ISO 1000. [right-bottom] Zoom-stars. Nikon D5000, 10-mm lens at f/3.5, 30-sec exposure, manually zoomed.

[left] Paul Kruger's composite star trail centred on a setting Orion. [right] Photos by Lynnette Foster: [top] Gavin and Anya Lock. [centre] Kleinma in the kitchen. [bottom] Dylan at the eyepiece.

[left] Zodiacal light, imaged by Leslie Rose. [right] Sketches by Alan Cassells with an 8-inch Dobsonian - NGC 2362, NGC 2422, and the Star Gate.

nothing more to see. please move along.