I spent this past weekend at Cherry Springs, putting the astrophotography setup to work, since it’s been a few months. The plan was originally to go to the Black Forest Star Party, scheduled that weekend. However, the events of this year caused it to be cancelled. I originally planned on heading up Thursday, but the smoke from the wildfires was hazing up the sky. Practice Leave No Trace! Make sure fires are completely out before leaving camp to prevent more wildfires!
I went up Friday instead. The smoke cleared from the skies as I was driving up. When I pulled in, there was a large amount of people set up on the field. It was easy to find a parking spot to set up, however. Setting up was a breeze. This trip gave me a chance to check out the Coleman Darkroom tent, which now I recommend for all car camping trips. After dark, I set the scope to our nearest Galactic neighbor, Andromeda. I let it run all night.
After napping a bit, I woke up to make sure the scope readjusted correctly. Once whatever the target is hits its highest point in the sky, tracking mounts flip over to the other side. I just have to watch it to make sure no cables get hung up. As I did, someone was over in the parking lot across the road flying a drone at 1:30 AM, and shining green lasers. If you visit Cherry Springs, don’t do this! Drones are illegal in the park, and green lasers mess with people’s images if you point it near where they are imaging! Anyways, I took another nap and woke up just around morning twilight and did calibration frames, which require me to put the cap on the telescope. Then I took a nap until 10 AM.
I spent the day relaxing, but in the middle of the day I had planned on filming the next few YouTube videos, but my microphone was picking up people talking fifty feet away. So, I’ll do those this weekend. But, as the day was winding down, the weather report looked less friendly. It looked like around 11pm clouds were going to be around for two hours. During sunset, the moon was setting, and was going to pass through the tree line. There was a nice gap in the trees I was aiming for, but as it was setting, it perfectly fit between two thin trees. I loved that image.
At the same time, someone else had a green laser. Someone yelled real loud to put it away, and they did.
I planned on imaging the Soul Nebula, but the clouds did indeed roll in. I wasn’t able enough data for that image. But, at 1AM it cleared up again. I aimed it at the Pleiades Cluster for the rest of the night.
After coming home Sunday, I processed the images, which I give you below. I highly recommend visiting the park if you get a chance.
If you are interested, you can check out the buy a print page, and order a print of one of these images!