Thursday, August 12, 2010

The gloom and sun of Washington state star parties

For the third year in a row I've organized our yearly star part up at Bowman Bay at Deception Pass state park.  This was also the third year in a row that we have been clouded out - and second year with rain.  The day starts out well with sun (see left photo) then turns to this (right photo).
I'm starting to wonder if I'm the one that is cursed or it's just unfortunate bad luck?  So this year we have our star party and the big Table Mountain star party just a week later.  Forecast was for an ugly weekend again, but then flipped and it's now going to be a hot summer weekend in the 90s!  I find that this summer has been like a roller-coaster of weather, and there are times that I just need to yell "Stop!  I need to throw up!
So here we are a week later with Table Mountain tonight.  Now the Clear Sky clock is showing very promising skies, and it will be nice to be 6,300 feet up on a mountain above a lot of the hotter weather too.  As a bonus, the Perseid shower is tonight and it's supposed (uh...forecast!) to be a good one.
It's easy to see the economic impact on star parties also.  It used to be that I would save my money until Table Mountain if there was a part that I wanted.  I could then spend the day shopping between vendors for the best deal.  Now there are maybe 3 vendors - one selling the scope stuff, our favorite t-shirt guy, and the tripod shop.  The 700 people limit hasn't been sold out either, and you can still drive up and get in at the gate without reservations.  Kind of sad, and I hope the economic forecast improves along with the weather.

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