Sunday, November 19, 2017

Julian Starfest 2009

August 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Astro Trips, Events, Featured, News

August 20-23, 2009 was the 2nd annual Julian Starfest at the Menghini Winery in the small mountain town of Julian, CA – and the MBS Astronomy Club set up to camp all four days.

The Julian Starfest is a major Southern California astronomy event, featuring a free public star party on Saturday, tours of the Palomar Observatory, astronomy supplies and vendors, astronomy guest speakers and presentations, a giant raffle with $7,000 worth of give-aways and four days of camping and astronomy.

Camping area

Camping area at the Menghini Winerty, Julian Starfest

With plenty of room at the winery to spread out we had enough space to accommodate all four of our imaging rigs, complete with computers, workbenches and Fat Maxes (our super efficient, ultra compact tool chests). Our compound was flanked by the travel trailer on one side and two tents (for the adventurous) on the other. Plenty of room for our gravity chairs and binocular sky tours in the center, while our rigs were up and imaging all night.

Julian Pie Company

Julian Pie Company

We pulled in Thursday just after 3:00 pm when camping registration opened. We picked our spot and got set up. The first night was perfect with clear skies that got pretty dark. Friday was overcast all day and it never let up, the night was clouded over, even raining on us a bit throughout the night. And good thing we stuck it out because Saturday night was again perfectly clear and dark (though very damp and dewy). I’m not a good judge of what is dark or not (and we’ve had much debate about Anza vs. GMARS, etc.) and Jamie didn’t think Julian was as dark as GMARS – and I disagreed. We were tempted to get a dark sky quality meter to start taking regular measurements of our locations – this tool would be a helpful tool to aid in our ongoing debate. All-in-all, we had two great nights of astronomy.

Craig Stark speaking at the Julian Starfest

Craig Stark speaking at the Julian Starfest

Craig Stark from StarkLabs (author of Nebulocity, PHD Guiding and DSLR Shutter) gave a great talk on SNR (signal to noise ratio), similar to his series on Cloudy Nights, and detailed the differences between cameras for astro-photography. He also spend a few minutes with us discussing, and helping solve an ongoing debate about ISO settings and its impact on SNR. Look for more MBS stories discussing some of the Stark topics like increased aperture and its affect on SNR, and how single-shot color cameras differ from monochrome cameras.

We’re all good friends with Keith, Chris and Craig at OPT (Oceanside Photo and Telescope) so its always fun when we get to spend time out in the field with these guys. Check out Chris’ newest images on his website. OPT is one of the big sponsors of the Julian Starfest and they have a giant booth in the vendor village. In fact, this has become quite an event for all of us to do some “shopping.” This year Harvey bought his new CCD camera (Orion Starshoot Pro) and was like a proud poppa when he unpacked the box. Ippei was close to making his final decision on a new imaging OTA, but the OPT guys sold the last one in stock – right from under his nose. Jamie finally got his wide field imaging rig completed when he attached his camera ball head adapter (manfrotto 486) to his Celestron CG-4 mount, complete with hand-crafted, hardwood dovetail. This ended up being used by everyone for wide field imaging right off the camera – it’s awesome! And don’t worry, if they don’t have what you need at the OPT Booth – they call the store and have someone bring it up, THAT is customer service at its best! I finally got a new HoTech centering 2″ camera dapter, deliverd to Julian from the store (did I mention OPT is awesome!)

With all of our new gear, the great food, the heated debates (360ยบ capabilities, dark skies, Gaysted, breathing in the particles once you can smell them, etc.), the apple (and berry) pie, the ice cream lady, Bridgette, Ippei’s new truck (really a big help packing in all of our gear), Sea Breeze and the Millionaire Mile – We even got the chance to meet a few guys from the SoCalAstroPhoto group, and chat a bit – The Julian Starfest 2009 was a huge success!

Look for updated images from everyone under the MEMBERS tab.

We loaded all four of our Stanley Fat Max gear boxes into Ippei's truck.

We loaded all four of our Stanley Fat Max gear boxes into Ippei's truck.

Planning our strategy over breakfast in Orange County before heading out to Julian, CA

Planning our strategy over breakfast in Orange County before heading out to Julian, CA

We stopped for pie at the famous Julian Pie Company

We stopped for pie at the famous Julian Pie Company

Setting up our campsite - astro-imaging center - and saloon.

Setting up our campsite - astro-imaging center - and saloon. Four telescopes, four computers.

Our first feast of many - BBQ steak sandwiches.

Our first feast of many - BBQ steak sandwiches.

Santa Ysabel Casino, just a few miles from Julian, CA - we went for the $4.95 Prime Rib Dinner! And some of us like horseradish more than others.

Santa Ysabel Casino, just a few miles from Julian, CA - we went for the $4.95 Prime Rib Dinner! And some of us like horseradish more than others.

Jamie, testing his new personal dark adapted eye protection system. Now he can use the bright light form his computer monitor to light his work area - and still protect his own eyes - Patent Pending.

Jamie, testing his new personal dark adapted eye protection system. Now he can use the bright light from his computer monitor to light his work area - and still protect his own eyes - Patent Pending.

Harvey studying the manual for his new Orion Starshoot Pro - just picked up from OPT boot in Vendor Village.

Harvey studying the manual for his new Orion Starshoot Pro - just picked up from OPT booth in Vendor Village.

Ippei and John conducting highly technical binocular comaprison testing ... complete with vodka drinks.

Ippei and John conducting highly technical binocular comparison testing ... complete with vodka drinks.

All you can eat chicken quesadilla mexican breakfast - note: three is too many.

All you can eat chicken quesadilla Mexican breakfast - note: three is too many.

Brian and Jamie posing for a quick portrait in town - Julian, CA

Brian and Jamie posing for a quick portrait in town - Julian, CA

Harvey won this great piece of framed art in the raffle.

Harvey won this great piece of framed art in the raffle.

Nightfall at the Julian Starfest 2009. The milky way is setting over our campground.

Nightfall at the Julian Starfest 2009. The milky way is setting over our campground.

Comments

One Response to “Julian Starfest 2009”
  1. Brian says:

    Dude, those are great pics. I love the last one of Nightfall with the Milky Way above, and red streaks along the ground from all the red flashlights. Very cool. Thanks again for a great trip guys!

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