ASN’s 24” Scope sees First Light

The ASN’s 24” truss-tube dobsonian has not been used since approximately 2010.  In January through June 2015, the scope was restored and rebuilt by current ASN members. First light was in Palomino Valley on July 11, 2015!

Our 24" scope was built by ASN members in 1991 and rebuilt in 2002 using the mirror and support frame from the original scope. Thus the scope is a legacy from former ASN members and was updated with modern tools.

Here is a list of the upgrades to the scope:

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ASN Star Parties and Events (Rev 10-19-14)

Recurring Star Parties

ASN members help conduct weekly star parties at the UNR Redfield Campus MacLean Observatory, off the Mt. Rose Highway, every Friday of the month (weather permitting; event will be cancelled if skies are overcast).  Contact the UNR planetarium for cancellation info and other questions.

The ASN provides monthly…

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Category: President

President's Perspective August 2013

Summer has come, and is quickly going by! We have warm, but short evenings to observe the heavens, and all the summer treats they have to offer. Oh, the riches of Scorpius, Sagittarius and Ophiuchus! Globular clusters, planetary nebulae and emission nebulae oh my! Further north, we have such wonders as the Ring Nebula, the North America Nebula, and my all-time favorite, the Veil Nebula!

The premiere event of the summer, the Golden State Star Party (GSSP), has come and gone already. This was my second time at this event, and it was just as good as the first time. Well, almost. My time at the star party was cut short by a gout attack in my left hand, which left me with a painful and useless hand. I ended up going home a day early because of this. However, even with a hurting hand, I could still push around the club's 20 inch 'scope, and learn how to effectively use it. As luck would have it, the digital setting circles on it had acted up, so all use of this 'scope was by viewfinder and knowing where the interesting objects were. Although I could not go looking for the 'faint fuzzies' I wanted to try to see, I can now use it to locate a number of good objects without a computer, enough to conduct a public star party with it, as need be. ASN member Jeff Wolff is giving up this 'scope as he now as a really cool 14 inch dob with a great mirror and motor drives. I will likely take over taking this 'scope out to club and some public star parties, as I have a means of storing and transporting it. (And work continues on trying to make the 24 inch 'scope a more useful instrument, although this is not proceeding as fast as I had envisioned.)…

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President's Perspective June 2013

It's been a busy past few months! I wish I could say it was all about astronomy, but it wasn't. Much of it had to do with a bill before the Nevada legislature (SB245) that would have banned the ownership of animals like big cats and primates, even for most zoos, wildlife facilities, magicians, etc. in Nevada. If passed, our zoo would have to close within a few years, due to lack of animals. It was a lot of work, but a group of very dedicated and determined animal owners and their supporters (which I am involved with, as a big cat keeper) fought to have this bill killed! Add to this two trips for work, and a work-related project that has taken almost every free weekend I have had since March, and you can see why I have been quiet. But enough of that!

Now, in the 'best-laid plans' department: Most of you know that ASN owns a 20 inch and a 24 inch Dobsonian telescope. The 20 inch, in the care of ASN member Jeff Wolff, is frequently seen at club events. But not the 24 inch. Why? It's big. it's tall. It's heavy! A big ladder is needed to reach the eyepiece at zenith, which makes it less than safe for most public star parties. With a focal length of 3048 mm, you are pushing your luck with any eyepiece smaller than about 20 mm, and it has a rather narrow field of view for a f5 telescope. Thus no one wants to go to the considerable trouble of hauling it to a star party. But I like the 'scope and since it is stored at my place, I have been learning how to use it. And like Jeff, I have been working on improving it, by adding things like digital setting circles. My goal was to have this 'scope ready for the Golden State Star Party, where it can be seriously used and evaluated for a few days to see what it is really capable of.…

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President's Perspective February 2013

Its been a long time since I wrote a column. December and January were downright crazy, and some of it not in a good way. I spent the first two weeks of January more or less nonfunctional due to two closely spaced illnesses (except for work, of course! It's interesting how the sickness hit mainly on the weekends!). This kept me from being able to participate in a number of club activities, including our Holiday party.

I also found myself 'shading cameras' for a televised basketball game the night of our monthly meeting, something that I had not planned to happen (but it looks like there was a good meeting, anyway).

I have been working on a base for my new observatory, and that project has grown to seemingly take every available resource, especially time. I had planned to do a lot on it in the last week, in actuality I have been unable to do anything. I may have to defer that project to this summer if my schedule gets any more intense.

But I am beginning to get back 'in the groove of things', and have been able to make a couple star parties in the last couple of weeks. That should continue, especially as the weather improves for these activities.

One activity that is really beginning to ramp up is the RECON project. This is a project to observe Kuiper belt objects by measuring star occultations. A couple of people in our club (Dennis Jamison, for one, if I recall) has already tried this. A number of us are going to try another one this evening (February 10th). This should be very interesting, and this will be our first chance to see how well the provided Celestron 11 inch 'scope works, as well as see if our own 'scopes are up to the challenge. The training for this is in early April (4th-7th), in Carson City. Because this is local to us, there are some opportunities for additional ASN members to attend this training. This will be discussed at the February and March meetings.…

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