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Old 20-01-2008, 11:25 AM
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abellhunter
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 119
abellhunter's Astro bio: Part #2 & 3

Part #2 The OCA Observatory

In 1987 i joined the Orange County
Astronomers and was sent my first
news letter. In it they listed the
next Star Party for the Saturday
nearest the New Moon that month.
The OCA's dark site is 90 miles
away in Riverside County, near the
small town of Anza. We drove up
into an area 25 miles NE as a crow
flies from Palomar Observatory.
In fact we could see the 200"
telescope's white dome just over
the next ridge.

Here i was amazed once again by
the night sky. The club had been
up and running for around 10 years.
They had the club's Kuhn 22" cassegrain
in a roll off observatory. This was
hand built by Bill Kuhn in his garage.
Bill and the scope even made it into
the old Telescope Makers magazine.
The OCA's dark site back then had a
couple of smaller private observatories
and 3 dozen member pads with power. They
also had a large community pad that would
fit a dozen scopes easy. Then the flat
"football field" that was more than
enough for anyone else to use and future
expansion.

At the time John Sanford was President
and Wayne Johnson was Vice President.
They ran the 22" like pros, Wayne even
discovered a number of Supernovae with
it. I recall John was glued to the
C-14 in the SW corner of the observatory
most of the time. They were the best of
host and everyone had a great time!
___________________________________ ______

Part #3 my First Observatory

After a year of being a member of the
Orange County Astronomers i was in love
with the dark sky. So i started to look
for a place where i could build my own
observatory.

In January of 1989 i bought my 1st house
it was not next door to the OCA but was
close by. The place i feel in love with
was 2 miles out of Anza's village
center. It sat 4,200 feet on Table
Mountain, the eastern most section
of Anza Valley.

The view to the west is hay fields in
the Winter and potatoes in the Summer.
Then off on the horizon sat the beautiful
rock and jagged peak, Cahuilla Mountain.
To the East loomed Santa Rosa Mountain
and then desert below. The North was
just fields with a ranch or two then
Thomas Mountain 6,500 feet tall, and
peaking up from behind it San Jacinto
at 10,000 feet.

The view to the South: The observatory
dome on top of Palomar, just three
mountain ridges away. But by far the
BEST view was the Milky Way. To walk
out my front door and see the Milky Way
made me feel like i was in the best
place on the planet.

By Spring of 1986 i had completed my
own observatory, housing a C-11. i was
so happy to roll off that roof and
search the night with my Sky Atlas
2000.0 to the sound of coyotes howling.

Lance aka "abellhunter"
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