2.3 Rainy Days, Espresso Nights

There’s always something. I managed to get the tracking and focus properly set for this shot of the Trifid Nebula, but sometime during the exposure an airplane cruised by with its running lights on.  Note the three pairs of white and red “stars” along the track from the plane’s flashing beacons.

Most attendees had given up and gone to bed with the cloud cover at midnight. A few of us accidentally enjoyed its clearing after 2:00. We took in views of galaxies, nebulas and star clusters until the near-dawn when Saturn, and then Jupiter and Venus appeared. This was the intoxicating finale of the evening, and with the brightening sky, I staggered to my tent sometime after 4:00.

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Table Mountain Star Party

2.1 The Approach

I had embarked on this “Nightscape Odyssey” to search out dark sky locations in the western U.S. and to hone my astrophoto skills. Although the Table Mountain Star Party (TMSP) in Washington’s Cascade Mountains was a long way from Minnesota, I had selected it as a fitting launch point for my ambitious summer plan.

The “star party” is an interesting concept, especially to those who are not close to amateur astronomy circles. For them it creates an amusing image of revelers eating and drinking outside, occasionally looking up at the sky, pointing to various stars and having a good laugh over them.

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