Michael Hotka's
Okie-Tex Star Party 2011

I arrived at the 2011 Okie-Tex Star Party Friday September 23rd to help setup the party. I helped chalk the roads, put out the power cords and setup the audio visual equipment for the presentations. Since my laptop had the version of Microsoft Office 2010, it was used for the presentations throughout the week.

By Saturday September 24th Noon, the place was filling up. This is a view of the East Field.

This is the view of the West Field, Saturday September 24th at Noon.

Here is a zoomed in shot of my observing location at this years' star party. My motor home is at the top of the picture, and my telescope is setup across the road with my Focus. I used my Focus to store all my observing gear at the end of the each night, well, morning to be specific.

My 12.5" f/8 scope ready to go on Saturday September 24th night. For most of the week, the high thin clouds you see in this picture pestered observing. They would come and go, often all night. In between the clouds, the seeing and transparency often increased.

By Sunday September 25th, the East Field was getting crowded.

Other campers setup in my area. Above my scope were a couple from South Carolina, and below my setup were two astro imagers from Texas.

A view of the East Field on Tuesday September 27th. This was about as crowded as it got. Notice the clouds that persisted most of the night. Still got a lot of observing in though.

My setup with all my neighbors on Tuesday September 27th.

Ground view of the area. On Thursday and Friday, the daytime winds kicked up and blew dust everywhere.

The traditional Flamingos, Okie and Tex.

My new friend, Brad Young from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Between Brad and myself, we have the most Astronomical League observing club certificates.

On Friday September 30th, I gave the first talk of the afternoon. It was about the "Evolution of My Telescope" and I had about 30 people in the audience.

I had a great time at this years' Okie-Tex Star Party. I met a lot of old friends from years past and made many new friends. I observed the entire week, despite the often margional seeing conditions. Jupiter seemed to be the hightlight of the nights. Saw the Red Spot and two large festoons on the surface (Damon Alcorn's picture of Jupiter the same night). Looked at lots of galaxies along the southern horizon as well as grab views from my neighbor's, from South Carolina, scopes. One had a 20" and the other had a 25". A few evenings, I took a nap in the early evening until midnight, when it seemed to clear enough to allow me to observe.

During the star party, I continued to validate the double stars with observations for the Binocular Double Star Observing Club. The double 19 Taurus was a tough one to see. I also complete the last 5 dark nebulas so I could get the Dark Nebula Observing Club. With my telescope, I looked at many old favorites as well as work on the Flat Galaxy and Southern Arps Observing Clubs.

I observed about 180 objects in my telescope, 120 of them were brand new, first time observed objects. Of the new count, I saw 72 new galaxies, 34 new double stars, 5 new dark nebula and 1 new comet.

Click here to see my raw observing logs for the week.


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