It’s getting to be my favorite time of year. The weather dries out in Florida for the winter, the seeing gets to sub arc second, and the bugs are gone! This last new moon, I was set up at the Staunton River Star Party at a state park of the same name in Virginia. I had both a Paramount ME and a Paramount MX and I showed several people how I run TPoint for both polar alignment and to turn on ProTrack. I was able to go 15 minutes unguided with ProTrack with my 600mm f/3 RH-200 and I captured the color data for this M33 image, some of it while people watched the subs coming in.
I love the state park there, and the cabin was just perfect. High likelihood that I’ll return next year! I only spent one night under the stars unfortunately because of other obligations and the weather. I was also slain by the dew… tip: one dew heater controller is not enough to keep two scopes dry. I had to abandon my Mak-Newt to the elements and focus on one or the other.
My next adventure is the Advanced Imaging Conference, followed quickly by the Chiefland Star Party. I’ll be there Tuesday through the end of the week, and I’m an invited speaker. I’m giving two talks about our new software, the Paramount’s, and I’ll again be demonstrating on the field the “Paramount” workflow for alignment and using ProTrack. It’s no secret that any day now we are releasing the much anticipated guiding update to the Camera Add On, and I’ll be talking about that, and demonstrating it as well.
December and the holidays, I’m taking a little bit of a break. I’ll be at a much smaller star party in NC that I co-chair (www.pari.edu/psp), and in January I may just hide out at my dark sky haunt down in Okeechobee County. February brings the Winter Star Party, and one of my favorite star parties of the year. Software Bisque will be there, with probably three Paramount’s (including an ME II!) on the field. Rumor has it, we might actually have someone who’s last name is “Bisque” there as well ;-)
It’s a lot of fun meeting our customers face to face. You get a whole different impression of people verses forums and emails, plus staying up all night when the weather is good isn’t too bad either. Sometimes I scan the skies with binoculars while the camera is collecting photons, or I’ll wander around and beg peeks through someone’s big monster dob. When I’m doing the really “serious work” (he says with a stern look on his face), I’ll go somewhere by myself or with my few imaging “pals”. Star parties are mostly a social event, tons of people interested in the same things you are. See you there?
10-18-2012 12:02 PM