The Chiefland Astronomy Village in Florida is home to a good number of amateur astronomers and imagers. Usually once or twice a year someone will throw something "organized" akin to a star party (more than one large field/owners are in this community). Typically the largest gathering is in the Fall, and it's prime observing or imaging time with a lot of great objects well positioned at dark, and the Winter constellations of Orion, etc. coming up well before dawn. This year, the event was an "AstroFest" held on the Billy Dodd Memorial Field. The event was also free, hoping to spur some additional attendees.
Being practically in my backyard, of course I had to go! I was invited to speak as well on the topic of my choice, and well anytime there is a nearby group of imagers willing to listen, I'll surely have something to say, so I gave a short presentation on TheSkyLTI, @focus3, and talked a bit about the future of imaging and embedded computing. Naturally I had a small Raspberry Pi along to show off running the full SkyX Professional suite.
I did not go the entire week, but came Wednesday afternoon half way through the week. Attendance was a bit slimmer than most of the events I've attended here, but we had a good crowd by Thursday night, and a full house for my talk Thursday afternoon. Being in my back yard, there were many members of my own local astronomy club present too (Central Florida Astronomical Society - CFAS), and that was cool to hang out with my home town friends there. Jen Winters from DayStar also made an appearance and I saw that glorious prominence that everyone was talking about last week through one of their high end Quantum filters. A M A Z I N G! Enough to make me come out during daylight - LOL.
The best part of the star party for me was that imaging season has arrived in Florida! A several month clear sky drought of clouds and haze has me jonesing for some galactic photons! Do you suffer from moderate to severe galactic photon deprival (GPD Syndrome)? I have your prescription right here! How about an f/3 Veloce RH-200 and an FLI Proline 16803? Big pixels, fast optics... what a killer combination! I got all the data I needed for my best shot ever of IC 1396, and collected quite a bit of nice dark sky data on some longer term projects (btw... OIII is BETTER under dark skies than at home... Ha is identical... just FYI imaging tip).
In other interesting news/gossip, I can confirm the rumors that the Winter Star Party is relocating for 2018 to Chiefland (I asked permission to disclose this a bit early). The site of the WSP was devastated by hurricane Irma, and will not be able to recover in time for the February star party. Chiefland was of course the only viable choice as host for such a large event, so insider chat was "where else would they do it?". There are many details yet to be worked out, and a formal announcement with details is probably a week or two away still (so, don't start harassing them while they figure the rest out). The dates are the same, and the location is actually closer for a lot of people. I will surely miss the food and atmosphere of the Keys, and certainly that is a big draw for many people. On the other hand, Chiefland is a much more "economical" choice... close, and less expensive everything else. I've already spoken with some other vendor friends, and we plan to be there in force to support the group. I hope to see you there too!
Next on the dance card is our GMARS workshop next month. Sarah, R.J. and myself are looking forward to it, and last I heard we are at or very near capacity. I also have many friends out in that area too and am looking forward to seeing them soon!
Meanwhile... there's going to be a couple of clear nights this week... time to finish up @focus3 ;-)
10-24-2017 8:58 AM