(This article originally appeared in the Q3 2006 STAR newsletter. -Ian)
RAC at Presbyterian Point
by Bill Webster
On Sept 22 & 23 more then thirty club members and guests traveled north for a two night outing to a site called Presbyterian Point. The Occoneechee Boy Scout Council recently acquired this site. Dean and Susan Herring informed the officers that this might be a good location to hold a club star party. The officers met with the Boy Scout Council and struck a deal. They would let us use the site one weekend and we would provide astronomy expertise for the boy scouts. Since we already do show and tell programs for the scouts it was an easy decision to make.
The outing went off without a hitch – even the weather was great. Friday night started out cloudy and then cleared for a few hours. Saturday afternoon everyone enjoyed a hamburger and hotdog cookout provided by the Club. Dean Herring and Doug Lively did the cooking and Kay Moore brought some chili. Everyone sat in the shade talking and eating. It was just like at the Rock-Ola, only outdoors.
The Saturday afternoon clouds were a bad sign for the last night of the outing. But everyone was encouraged by the reports from the Clear Sky Clock. Those who stayed were rewarded with a great night of viewing and imaging. Just before dusk the clouds cleared and stars came out. Everyone stayed busy until about 1:30am. Ian Hewitt was able to bag the elusive Cave nebula (Sharpless-155), Greg Dillon reported using 1,250x on the Blinking Planetary (NGC6826) with his 25” Dobsonian. I was finally able to give my new 20” Dobsonian a good work out under dark skies. And Steve Izzo kept busy imaging the Bubble nebula (NGC7635). It was an excellent night to be under the stars.
We are already trying to set up meetings with the Boy Scout Council to hold a much larger event at this site next year.