Saturday night the Roper Mountain Astronomers and Furman University’s Physics Department hosted a star party at the Furman observatory near Cleveland, SC. I decided to load up my telescope and head on up that way.
I arrived to find the party in full swing. Jerry Polsinelli had brought the club’s 14in Dobsonian and had it set up. There was another smaller Dobsonian, A couple of Newtonians, and a really nice refractor telescope. Furman’s 14 in Celestron was also available. My tiny little Celestron looked sad next to these behemoths.
The sky was clear, but conditions were far from ideal. The moon was brighter than we would have liked, which obscured many of the fainter objects. In addition, this location is starting to get tons of light pollution, thanks to the new Cliffs developments about a mile away. There was also a significant glow on the horizon to the north toward Hendersonville and the south toward Greenville. I’m guessing there is just about no place left in South Carolina where you can go for dark skies.
I tried taking some long exposure shots of star trails, but it was obvious that there was just too much ambient light. Even with my settings as low as they would go, a 15-minute exposure produce a very light image. I would have had to leave the aperture open for qhite awhile to get true star trails, and that just wasn’t going to work.
Even though conditions weren’t great, we still saw some neat stuff and I had fun.