Author Archives: Chris Todd

Perseid Meteor shower

The Perseid Meteor shower is usually one of the best every year, and this year, the predictions were for up to 100 meteors per hour. So my amateur astronomy club, The Howard Astronomical League, hosted a special Perseid Meteor star … Continue reading

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Traveling to TSP

Last year, my wife and I packed up my Prius with all our gear and drove to the Texas Star Party. It took us two and a half days, and while we had some fun on the way, I decided … Continue reading

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New Nepenthes terrarium

Amy had a brilliant idea about what to do with the empty 65g fish tank in the kitchen – move all our Nepenthes into it! We’ve been keeping our Nepenthes in a 75g terrarium in our laundry room, but to … Continue reading

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Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza and SEPOS Orchid Show

Amy and I spent a lovely day (despite the rainy weather) at Longwood Gardens on Saturday. We had never been to Longwood before, but this will not be the last time; it’s a really beautiful facility. The main reason we … Continue reading

Posted in 54g corner bowfront, 75g terraria, Nepenthes spectabilis 'Pangulobau', Orchids, Paphiopedilum dayanum, Paphiopedilum phillipinense var album, Paphiopedilum Shin-Yi William, Paphiopedilum sukhakulii, Paphiopedilum venustum, Paphiopedilum venustum var pradhanii, Vanda 'Sansai Blue' | Comments Off

WSP 2102 Recap with pics and time lapse

Well, I’ve had a chance now to completely process all the pictures I took at the Winter Star Party, and reflect on the event. It was definitely one of the best star parties I’ve ever attended, in part because I … Continue reading

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WSP 2012 Thursday night

I guess the astronomy gods wanted to exact some revenge. Whereas Wednesday night was one of the best observing experiences of my life, this was one of the most frustrating. It was very humid with no wind, and dew attacked … Continue reading

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WSP 2012 Wednesday night

What a freakin awesome night! The seeing conditions rocked, and views of Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn were the best I’ve ever seen. Saturn had a definite 3D quality to it. Jupiter had a nice Europa shadow transit in progress as … Continue reading

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WSP 2012 begins!

Well I got up at 5 am, got some breakfast at the Stuffed Pig, and got in line at 6:20 am only to find I was about 40th in line. Apparently they don’t enforce the rule about not lining up … Continue reading

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Dinner in Memphis

We started the day (which happened to be our 17th wedding anniversary) in Sulphur Springs, Texas, and we arrived in Memphis about 4 pm. We really wanted to get some authentic Memphis BBQ, so we went a little out if … Continue reading

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Going home

We got everything packed up Saturday morning and hit the road at noon exactly. The trip meter read exactly 2000 miles. We stopped in Balmorhea for lunch at the Cave of the Bear (La Cueva de Oso) Mexican restaurant. The … Continue reading

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Thursday night and Friday

Thursday night was a complete washout, but at least Friday night I won a $25 gift certificate for ScopeStuff. The observing Friday night was just as frustrating as last night, though at least there was about an hour when it … Continue reading

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The scopes at TSP 2011

One of the cool things about big regional star parties is that you get to see lots of cool scopes. TSP is known, in particular, for the big dobs that show up. The largest is Larry Mitchell’s 36″ Obsession (apparently … Continue reading

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Observing Wednesday night

A very frustrating night! Transparency was poor, with clouds hovering around the horizon in almost all directions. Anything below about 15 degrees was in muck. Omega Centauri was disappointing as a result, and it was almost 1 am before the … Continue reading

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Visiting Fort Davis

We woke up fairly early Wednesday morning, having gone to bed around 10:30 Tuesday night due to the storms. Amy and I had breakfast at the drug store in town, a wonderful establishment (be sure to get a milkshake!) with … Continue reading

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Tuesday night – thunderstorms without rain

No observing last night, except observing the clouds. A line of potentially severe thunderstorms rolled through in the late afternoon, causing some concern about the safety of people and telescopes. It got very windy, and there was lightning and thunder, … Continue reading

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Great night

An excellent evening. Well, after midnight when the clouds cleared out. Transparency was quite good and seeing was decent though not spectacular. I’ll have to think tomorrow about what I observed, but I had a lot of fun trying my … Continue reading

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First night of observing

After dinner, we went back to our bunks and rested for an hour or two. I still needed to setup our scopes, but it was so hot, I decided to wait until just before sunset to start. I helped Amy … Continue reading

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We’re here!

Got to Prude Ranch about 5:30 pm, just in time for the dinner service. Gawd almighty it is hot!!! We tossed our stuff in our bunkhouses (which have window unit air conditioners that were struggling against the heat even while … Continue reading

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Driving, driving, driving, rawhide!

Yesterday (Friday) we only made it to Bristol Tennessee instead of Knoxville, because we got started late and hit traffic in Frederick. We stayed at a not so nice (but at least it was clean) Super 8 for $63. Yesterday, … Continue reading

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We’re off!

Well, we’re off to the Texas Star Party! We’ll be there in about 1,850 miles or so. We’re going to try to make Knoxville, TN tonight, then Fort Worth, TX tomorrow night, and arrive at the Prude Ranch in Fort … Continue reading

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