Bryce Canyon 2007

Diary of Roger's trip to Bryce Canyon NP, June 2007

6/16/07 Got up at 7:00 a.m. had breakfast and dumped the trailer bad fluids. It was a very scenic 3.5 hour drive over to Bryce Canyon NP mostly on highway 89. I self checked into the north campground site 13. I contacted my astronomy buddy Rich Strobel and did my 45 minute orientation with the park service officials for the star party. I had to promise to avoid all conversations about politics and religion. The park service is really serious about their astronomy program and dark sky preservation at Bryce. We were given placards’ with our name on them to gain entrance into the huge asphalt lot telescope field. We were allowed to bring in our vehicles to set up starting at 6:30 a.m. in designated areas. We had about 40 scopes varying in size from 3.5” to 32”. Lots of camaraderie and inspection of each others equipment was done during set up. The public was allowed in 10:00 p.m. We had about 600 people. I occasionally had 8 to 12 people in line to look through my two scopes. I showed Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter the first hour and then switched to a few globular clusters and some galaxies. The crowd from all over the world was very appreciative. The temperature started in 70's and perhaps got to a low of 58 F. We had absolutely no wind. The sky had no city light glow in any direction and the Milky Way was breath taking to view. The park service served all us volunteer astronomers a very good steak dinner at 12:45 a.m. A white light period of time was now allowed for those to leave who did not want to stay up all night. I was tired, so decided to pack up and return to my trailer for sleep.

6/17/07 Stayed in bed until 11:00 a.m. this morning. I got up showered, had breakfast, and make a few cell phone calls. I amazingly enough have 4 bars in this park. I had no bars at the North Rim. Caught up on my diary and generally rested up for to tonight’s astronomy session for personal imaging. The conditions tonight were again amazing. I set up in the large parking lot same place as the party was held. I was totally alone until 3:30 a.m. I used web cam to photograph Venus, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and the Ring Nebula M57. I then used my DSLR Rebel camera and a guide camera the Image Source Web cam to photograph the Swan Nebula, and M11 the Bee Hive cluster. I got auto guiding down quite well but am not happy with my DSLR focusing. Auto focusing can not be used when the telescope is used as the camera lens. Astro photography is an art not a science and it is very challenging to produce high quality photos.

6/18/07 Rich Strobel invited me out to where he is living on NFS land with his RV. It was located about 7 miles south west of the park on grassy wooded terrain. The Strobel’s dog Bryce who they got as a stray pup up here last year, really loves this environment as she can run like the wind for miles. Rich thinks the 1 year old dog is mostly Australian Sheppard. She is very fast, athletic, friendly to humans and other dogs, and will try to herd anything that moves. Her markings are beautiful and she loved to ham it up for attention with me. I brought my tri-tip roast, frozen peas, and some wine out for dinner which the Strobel’s cooked. I spent about 8 hours out there visiting, walking, eating, camp fire, and doing a 2 scope star party with Rich. 4 park service or NFS couples volunteers live out there. They joined us for the camp fire and star party until 1:30 a.m. in the morning at which time I drove back to my 5th wheel at North Bryce Camp Ground.

6/19/07 Spent the whole day catching up on my sleep, caused by the last two evenings of star gazing. I did finally wash 3 days of dishes. I also packed all my astronomical gear away for our long Pacific North West trip. After dinner at 9:00 p.m., I went to the big open parking lot with my Canon Rebel DSLR and a tripod. I took some night long exposure scenery photos of the Moon, Saturn, and Venus with tall Ponderosa pines in the fore ground. Next I did the same of Jupiter and Scorpius to the east. Next I did the big and little dipper. They sure look good in camera review screen. I had enough at 10:00 p.m. retiring early so I can to do the 280 mile drive to Las Vegas tomorrow.
Red Canyon NFS park just before Bryce Canyon NP.
There is a camp ground here suitable for big trailers. No hook ups, but its beautiful here.
There are several good trails and they allow dogs on them.
It would also be a great place to set up the telescope for a night or two
Next year this park is going to be on my agenda for 2 or 3 nights.
The Big Dipper from the large parking lot near Visitor Center.
The close conjunction of the Moon (behind tree), Saturn (to right and lower), and Venus (to right further and lower just to the left of tree) on 6/19/2007 at the parking lot near the visitor center.

Last updated on February 6, 2019