Just got back from Yosemite a little while ago. Had a great time up at Glacier Point again this year. Pulled into the campground about 2:00 PM on Friday and got set up right away. It was nice at around 80 degrees. Driving into Yosemite Valley on Hyw. 140 it was 100 degrees. It took a while to get used to the altitude, though. Got a bit light-headed while blowing up the ‘ol air mattress. That gave me the perfect excuse to take a nice nap :)
Jeff and Lynne Gose rolled in a little while later followed by Bill shortly after them. Andy and April Kreyche made it as well as our newest member, Kirk Bender. There was a fellow, Phil and his son, David, from Orange County that showed up and we let them join us as we weren’t using all of our allotted camping spaces. He brought along a nice 8”.
Both nights the rangers had very nice introductions for us. Bill put on a great slide show as it got dark both nights. He started off with an introduction to the kinds of telescopes we all had. Then he went through pictures of the planets and solar system, finishing up with some terminology as well as the constellations and DSOs that we would be looking at. He put on a real nice presentation.
That was all of us for Friday night except that Dwight Kelvey and his family joined us up at Glacier Point. He brought along some big binoculars and the big binocular telescope that he and Chris built some years ago. Fridays’ weather looked a bit iffy when we first got to Glacier Point. There was a lot of haze and a long line of clouds extending about 10 degrees above the mountains to the East. Once it got dark, though, the skies really cleared up and the observing was great. Seeing and transparency were both pretty good. I think we had seven or eight scopes both nights.
Saturday morning just about everyone took off for a hike or sightseeing. I stayed in camp and tried to troubleshoot my Go-To computer. Just before we all packed up Friday night I got my hand-controller cord caught on something and dropped it on the concrete. Tried re-booting a number of times to no avail. So after breakfast on Sat. I spread it all out on the picnic table and opened everything up looking for something I might be able to fix in the field. No luck, so I was DOA for Sat. night. Bill even had his connectivity checker, so we were able to rule out all the cables. It’s truly amazing - all the things he can get into that little Mini… :) Got a new hand-controller ordered first thing when I got home.
Saturday afternoon Barry Porter and his wife rolled into camp and got set up just in time to head to The Point. Bill had spent most of the day there looking for climbers, and Andy had set up his Coronado solar telescope at one of the other lookouts short of Glacier Point as Glacier Point was gridlocked for most of the day. We also had a fellow and his wife from Turlock show up with a nice 8” SCT.
Saturday was even better than Friday. Still a bit of haze at sunset but not enough to even mention once the sun went down. The Milky Way was absolutely awesome. Lots of great objects down in Sagittarius that we don’t get to see too often in our area. The altitude sure makes a big difference, too. Just behind Half-Dome there was a short line of thunderstorms just below the mountains to the East, so we had continuous flashes out in the distant east that silhouetted Half-Dome nicely.
Both evenings had really good turnouts. Probably 75 or so each night. It was fun talking to folks from all around the world that came to see Yosemite. Most didn’t know that there was going to be a star party and telescopes so it was a real treat for them. It’s always rewarding to see both the kids and adults get excited about the night sky. Although the very best part is climbing into a nice hot shower after three days of camping and great skies!
For those of you going to GSSP next week, have a great, and safe trip!!!