Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!

This is a journal of my adventures in astrophotography -- taking images of distant celestial objects. Please look around and feel free to add your comments, questions, and critique to any of the entries by clicking the "comments" button on the bottom of each entry -- or just say "howdy!

And don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

So choose either the Red pill or the Blue pill and follow me down the wormhole....


Comanche Springs Star Party

Comanche Springs Star Party
Doin' my thang at the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (where I often become a "red ghost")

Dallas Sky

Rancho Venado Sky

Atoka Sky

Camanche Springs Sky

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Oki-Tex...

This is Camp Billy Joe in the Black Mesa area of the Oklahoma panhandle. It is actually a Christian Youth Camp that the Oklahoma Astronomy Club rents once a year to hold its annual star party.

It is kind of ironic that this site hosts a bunch of science-loving "Big Bangers" each year, but it is also pretty cool. I mean, no matter what one believes regarding the "how and why" of the origin of the universe, most folks simply agree that the universe is beautiful, mysterious, and a marvel to behold.
Under the amazing canopy of stars, it seemed to me that science and faith were both right at home.
Okay, so I haven't gone camping since I was in college. But I decided to buy a tent and go "old school", avoiding the bunkhouse that was available in exchange for some privacy, solitude, and NO snoring!

This was my home away from home with my tent set-up just a few paces from my telescope. And while I did have privacy, I could still hear my neighbors snoring in their tents.

Twice a day they rang the dinner bell and folks would make the short walk to the lodge where food was served and the vendors hung out. The food wasn't bad and the decor was amusing -- on the wall next to the chow line there hung religious paintings, as well as large syringes and signs about getting rabies vaccinations.
A big tent served as dining hall and presentation area for the guest speakers. They also had Internet connections.

Of course, the main draw was not the food or camping facilities but rather the incredibly dark skies. Here is shot of the Milky Way I took with my Nikon. As you can see, very clear and very dark. Just perfect weather!

Astronomy, and astrophotography in particular, demands that you stay up all night until the sun comes up and puts an end to your work. It is sometimes hard to stay awake, and often you hit "the wall". My favorite remedy was a trip to the Cosmic Cafe -- an all-night grill serving burgers, frito pie, green chili stew, grill cheese sandwiches, and hot and cold drinks until 3am. Perfect for the astrophotographer!

The red "submarine-like" lighting scheme is to protect your dark adapted eye (it takes up to 40 minutes to get completely dark adapted, so light restrictions are important).

As you can tell, I had a great time at this event. I am looking forward to returning next year, as well as exploring other similar events in the region.

Next up... new astro images!


Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

HOLY CRAP!!! I LOVE THIS!!! Where do I start? Love the shots of the camp! Man, really cool landscape.

The space pix are the nuts. I love these. As always!!

I am JOhn said...

Howdy Bob!

Thanks for stopping by and adding your comments. It was just a great time -- an excellent place to decompress and enjoy life.

The Black Mesa area is almost like an alien planet -- very desolate and no people. It is also beautiful. Being a desert environ, the temps dropped 40 degrees each night. Great camping weather!

I'm really having fun with the astro pics. More on the way!

Ken Mitchroney said...

Well, if you can't find the "Rat Fink" nebula, you can always wear the shirt. Sounds like great fun John,Keep posting all that way out coolness.