Sky Tour 2005

I just got back from the 5th annual star party called BEOTS, aka. Buck-Eye on the Sky. It’s hosted by friends of ours, Scott and Diane Horstman here in Ohio. Rather than start with the latest star party, I’ll begin with how it all started in 2005. Here’s to a trip down memory lane!

Paul and I joined Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews in 2004. We had just purchased a refurbished Meade ETX-70AT and soon after a used 10″ Meade LX200 Classic. We’d never been to a star party before and joined a thread about a fairly local one here in Ohio called Sky Tour in Bellevue. We virtually met John Crilly and Jim Winter on that thread and agreed to meet up for the star party. Scott Horstman was the fifth member of our group (a friend of John’s) who showed up later that night.

Left to right: Scott Horstman, John Crilly, James (Jim) Winter, Erika Rix, Paul Rix

The club that hosted the star party welcomed us graciously and various members strolled over during the night to share views and for all of us to get to know each other better. The food was terrific and as I remember, the man who was in charge of the grill did a great job cooking to our orders! At the picnic table while eating our food, I found out what John did for a living when I told him how long Paul and I were married, to which he replied something along the lines of, “I can fix that for you.” If you can’t guess, he’s a lawyer. With that sense of humor, there was no doubt we all would become friends!

We enjoyed white light views with the “mighty” ETX-70. I even have the sketch from that day. John may not know it, but he gave me a bit of advice regarding solar sketching. He told me that there’s a tendency for sketchers to oversize sunspots. And he’s right! Without realizing it, it’s a very easy thing to do and a good chance I’ve done it in the sketch below. By keeping that in mind, I try to be very careful about depicting accurate sizes on the features. Now if anything, I sometimes tend to overcompensate and make the active regions a little smaller than they really are.

After supper, Scott pulled in and set up “Stella”. I was struggling with the ETX and Paul was imaging with the LX200. I never did get along with a those little finder scopes (a red dot finder would be much better), although I think now I could manage if I’d give it another chance. Truth be told, I enjoy a Telrad and will put them on the smallest scope even if it looks incredibly silly. I eventually covered the ETX and Scott gave me a tour of the skies with his dob. I’ll never forget how peaceful it was using that scope and how connected I felt with the night skies. I knew that some day, I’d have to get a dob of my own.

There was a dog there, and if memory serves me right, it could have been an border collie. I know that some people would rather not have dogs around while observing, especially at star parties, but to me it wouldn’t feel right without a canine companion around. Little things like that make star parties special.

I remember looking through Jim’s refractor and enjoying the views of Jupiter. And John, well, he’s so knowledgeable and fun to be around that he practically bent over backwards answering questions and making sure we enjoyed ourselves…not that he’d own up it or possibly even realized it. đŸ™‚

Our first star party was a terrific experience all around and if anyone out there hasn’t had the opportunity to attend a star party, I would suggest hunting down a few local ones in your state. Cloudy Night’s site is a great place to start: Astro Outreach, Clubs and Star Parties


~ by Erika Rix on July 5, 2011.

2 Responses to “Sky Tour 2005”

  1. […] Sky Tour 2005, our little group of Cloudy Night members expanded from 5 in 2005 to 17 observers in 2006. […]

  2. […] there were 5 (Sky Tour 2005). Then there were 17 (Sky Tour 2006). We projected the year 2007 to have even a larger gathering of […]

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