... deep in the heart of Texas!
And I'm back! I've just completed driving to West Texas from Central Florida and home again, a formidable trip. I must say, I'm laughing at one or two friends who have emailed me TWICE since leaving TSP because they are long home and think I must have missed their first emails. It takes a long time to drive that far, and with your wife along, it might even take an extra day due to some sight seeing (yes, I'm blaming her for stopping at the Alamo... I had no interest at all in that fascinating and historic site, nope none at all, and I only took all those pictures and read all the plaques in the museum because... well I was there anyway, right? And no it wasn't me looking for a red bike in the basement...).
The thing about a week of vacation or a week at an event away from the office is you always return a week BEHIND in everything else. Forum posts, emails, and all your friends try calling you at the same time to hear how the star party went. It takes a few days to clear my plate a bit and it's hard to prioritize things. Yes, this blog is a priority because I need to write it while the event is fresh on my mind, and if I don't I never will. Of course 10x longer than this blog is the trip report I write for internal purposes too (hey, this IS a job you know!).
This was my second trip to TSP, and I setup with friends from Celestron and Sky-Watcher USA on the north field just like last year. There were quite a few Paramount MYT's on the field (lots of people call it the "Mighty T", which made me chuckle) too, and I think we are starting to make some headway into the portable imaging crowd. I had my own there as well of course and to show off just how mighty the mount truly is, I loaded it up with my 6" refractor and a heavy imaging train, maybe pushing hard on the 50lbs "stated" weight limit; and of course 60lbs of counter weights because it's a long refractor. Just like WSP (Winter Star Party), I did not bring a guider of course ;-) My core philosophy is that guiding just needs to die... but that's another blog sometime.
I had a great week talking with the other vendors, customers, and I even got to hang out with Astronaut Don Petit, who it turns out is quite a bit of fun to talk to even about non-astronaut things.
I made an interesting observation this year. At many star parties, the crowd thins around midnight, but at TSP, the party is just getting started at midnight! It seems the TSP crowd is pretty hardy and unlike at some events when I'm the last man standing come sunrise, there is quite a bit of noise on the field at dawn as people are covering their scopes and slinking off somewhere to sleep the day away. No starlight goes to waste in Texas!
Naturally, I imaged all week from the Raspberry Pi, and gave a few people sneak peeks at the upcoming SkyBox technology, including the new screen stretch, @focus3, and a few other goodies.
The Texas skies are not "THE BEST"... but they are pretty close. On one of the nights, the Milky Way was about the best I've ever seen it due to the dry air and absence of airglow. I did a quick self portrait of me looking out next to my scope... just a boy and his gizmo-pal taking in the galactic light. What else would I do at a place like this?
P.S. I was invited back as a speaker next year, so I'll definitely be there for TSP2018!
05-31-2017 4:06 PM