Richmond Astronomical Society

Florida Stargazing Report

Oct 30th, 2011 | By | Category: Blog

Frank Green passed along this report on his recent expedition to Florida for some excellent stargazing:

Drove down to the Chiefland Astronomy Villgae near Chiefland, Fl. last week (Oct. 23) for one of the two annual star parties there. The sky is darker at Chiefland than at many Virginia sites, though not as dark as some of the W.V. ones. However, Chiefland is best known for great seeing. I was lucky enough to experience some on Monday (Oct. 24). Took the Mallicam out of the focuser and out in a high-power eyepciece — Jupiter was nothing but bands, swirls and eddiies from pole to pole, Europa was a beautiful, sharp white orb with a sharp black shadow as it moved across the planet that night. Had no idea my scope was capable of such performance. Some folks had their scopes up to 1,100 power with razor sharp views. Have never experienced seeing like that in Virginia (or anywhere else).

The CAV is roughly 730 miles from Richmond, most of it on I-95 (1-95 to 295 in Fl. to I-10 and then about 90 miles on fast back roads). It is an easy day trip (though I split it into two days on the way back because of sleep deprivation). The drive is well worth it.

There were two Fall star parties in progress. One, more formal, much larger and with vendors, charges a fee. It was in the “new” field. The other, much smaller, no fee, and no vendors was in in the “old” field. I went to the old field because that is where my friends were and it was primarily dob/Mallincam users such as myself.

* You can join the old field for free by going to the Chieflandobservers Yahoo users group

* For the new field go to: They have annual dues of $45 for first time membership and $30 renewals.

I belong to both and have been to both. Each field has excellent facilities: electrical outlets, hot showers, microwave and NO PORTA POTTIES! Tents, RVs, campers all accomodated.

Frank Green


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