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WAHARAU 2004 (photos below this text)
This year's Waharau star party was one of the best I have been to! The people were friendly and the stars blazed on both nights (albeit, slightly patchy at times on Friday night)...
Having driven up from Gisborne I arrived in the dark but was welcomed by a clear sky and warm greetings. After settling in I got to do the circuit around most scopes and observers and meet a few names that I had only read of in the 'NZAstronomers' Yahoo group - Gary and Aaron Beale, Kenric Ma, etc. These guys are very impressive to talk to and know their stuff - I learnt heaps from them in their respective fields of interest.
Discerning the tall, solid frame of Rob Beck in the sky glow I reacquainted myself with him and we promptly slapped my Canon EOS 10D digital SLR onto his 20cm SCT scope and tried some astrophotography. After an hour or so we gave up due to a few technical problems that would be remedied during the daylight on Saturday. I then headed off to Kenric Ma and tried my camera on his 25cm SCT. This worked better, however we were battling some very fast moving haze/cloud until 5am (which turned out to be fog just a hundred(?) metres above us the next day).
Saturday dawned fine and blue (apart from the odd fast moving patch of low cloud). As per usual at star parties there was banter / looking at / tinkering with telescopes during the daylight. The Sun was looked at with the safety of proper aperture filters with a couple of scopes. In the late afternoon Venus was tracked and observed - it looked like a small 5 day old Moon.
With the setting Sun, many (the numbers swelled on Saturday night - to about 70-80(?)) observed Comet 2001 Q4 (NEAT) in the SW. Currently at magnitude 4.7 this comet promises to be quite nice around the 7th May when it will be 50° high in the WNW in Puppis at the end of evening twilight - as will C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) later in May. Heading off to see Rob Beck we again tried some astrophotography - mainly piggybacking the 10D on his scope. We had more success than the previous night - as the photos below attest...
All in all, this was a great event. Full credit to the organizers (Keith and Dean) who ran it smoothly and quietly like a well oiled machine - well done; please copy and paste this years event onto next years one!
- John Drummond, Monday 19th April 2004
|Amateur shadow physicists||Scopes - like people - come is all shapes/sizes||I wonder what they're looking at?|
|Dave Moorehouse - not one 16" but two!||
The Beale mates - father and son
|Rob Beck imitating a chicken?|
|Venus is of in this direction somewhere!||The ever friendly Kenric Ma||Dave Brock - as sprightly and humorous as ever|
|Comet 2001 Q4 (NEAT) - Rob B & John D||The Large Magellanic Cloud - Beck/Drummond||Scorpio rising over the eastern trees|