July of 2010 was my first trip to the Golden State Star Party. It is held up in Adin, about 2.5 hrs drive east from Redding. The altitude is up at 4400' so there's a lot less atmosphere to have to contend with. The star party is held at Frosty Acres Ranch, a working cattle ranch owned and operated by the Albaugh family since 1937. They rent out one of their fields to GSSP and we have enough room for about 400 people and their telescopes. Since this is my website I get to put up lots of pictures of me :)
My first GSSP took a bit of a detour as far as imaging goes. A few nights before we left for this trip a few of us had been up at Bonny Doon Airport. I somehow dropped a power adapter for my laptop, so when I got to GSSP I couldn't use my computer. That meant I was restricted to visual observing. Fortunately, Erik Larson found the adapter and returned it to me after the trip. Still had a fantastic time, though! My first serious imaging rig - the 10" Meade SCT mounted on a Losmandy G-11.
A group of astronomy hooligans waiting for one of the lectures: Carl Coker fron UCSC, me and Walter.
John Pierce is a seriouly popular fellow on our GSSP trips. Besides being the club webmaster and star party coordinator, John always sets up his shade cave. Nights are fantastic there, but the daytime temps are usually 80-90 degrees and the winds can zip along at around 20-30 mph. We've all seen tents and shade tents picked up and tossed some distance. Here's Bill and Chris taking refuge.
During the heat of the day all you want to do is find a nice piece of shade. Carl taking a well deserved nap.
Napping is really contagious. Bill.
One of the things that makes GSSP a great experience is the shower trailer. Usually, these folks are out providing services for the forestry fire fighters, but if things are slow they contract out to GSSP. Being able to get cleaned up makes all the difference in the world. Four days in that kind of heat without a shower would make for some pretty ripe folks.
Here are just a few of the many interesting telescopes you can find at GSSP, a couple of Dobsonians and a binocular scope in the background.
Another shot of the binocular telescope. Looks to be about a 10 or 12 inch rig.
Another neat feature of GSSP is the main tent. This is where we have our meals, lectures, and swap meet. On either two or three of the evenings the Albaugh clan comes out and does a big BBQ. Either steak, burgers or sometimes BBQ beef. With all the trimmings. They use their own beef and all of the kids and grandkids help out with feeding the four hundred. They really are a very nice bunch of folks!
This 36" Dob has a pretty interesting story. A fellow from somewhere like Wisconsin commissioned this scope to be custom built. He flew out to Redding, rented a van and drove it all the way home. About a month later, Walter sees it for sale on Astromart. Turns out that the new owner didn't think it was big enough. It cost $30,000. John, Carl amd Chris checking it out.
Here are the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club representatives for 2010: Ron, John, Walter, Bill Chris, Carl.