Michael Hotka's
Okie-Tex Star Party 2017

I attended the 2017 Okie-Tex Star Party from Sunday September 17 through Friday September 22.

I borrowed a trailer from Roger Lau, my son's father-in-law and pulled my telescope behind my motorhome. This way I could wheel barrow the unit in and out of the trailer easily with the handles you see on the left side of the trailer.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon, about 4 PM. It was cloudy but about an hour later, it looked like it was going to clear up, starting in the south. Sp I setup my telescope in anticipation.

It was looking like we would get a night of observing in when I overheard someone say that Boise City, about 45 miles to the east, was under a severe thunderstorm watch. About an hour later, it started to cloud up again.

After sunset, you could see an intense lightening storm just over the mesa to the west. It was lighting up the clouds pretty good. Then it swept over us really fast. Lots of wind and a bunch of heavy, driving raing.

I looked at the local radar on my phone and we were on the southern edge of a very intense system. The edge of a dark pink area had just passed over us and we were in a saddle with another major cell heading our way.

This second cell had pea size hail in it. The lightening was so intense and constant, that it was like having the observing field lit up with flood lights. I could easily see my telescope vaining in the wind as it constantly changed direction.

Then the storm was off to the east. My scope made it thru the storm just fine. I am glad the center of the dark pink regions didn't pas directly over us. This was the worst thunderstorm I'd experienced at any star party I've attended.

I build a base for my Argo Navis Digital Setting Circles that attached to my telescope.

The Argo Navis computer fit into this nicely and worked great throughout the week.

I used my Surface 2 with JPG star charts to see if I liked referencing objects that way. The red film help protect my dark adapted eyes after dark.

It worked great. Along with my Sky Safari app on my phone, which has a red filter built into the app, I was able to easily find the objects I wanted to see.

Evening twilight on Monday, September 18, 2017. I'm all setup for a night of observing.

These two flamingos are called Okie and Tex. They are on top of a mesa to the south. I used them to align my finder scopes and snapped this picture of them thru my telescope.

My telescope is a newtonian reflecting telescope, so it flips the images I am looking up unside down and left to right.

Here is Okie and Tex from atop the mesa, looking back at my campsite.

I covered my scope during the day, for it often looked like it might rain. It also kept the dust off the scope from the constant wind we experienced during this star party.

A picture of part of the camp of the Okie-Tex Star Party from atop the mesa to the south. The one with Okie and Tex just below me.

A closeup picture of my campsite at the star party.

Afternoon of Wednesday September 20. 2017 looked great. Took the cover off the scope to allow it to start cooling down.

Evening twilight on Wednesday. Ready for another night of great observing.

When I get done observing at 3-4 am in the morning, I just piled everything into the motorhome and head to bed. This is how I left it Thursday morning at 4 am.

I then proceed to put things away after breakfast.

I ate real good all week. I brought my own food and didn't purchase the star party's meal plan. I grilled salmon and steak and had a salad every night.

There are two door prize drawings. My name was the third name called on the first door prize drawing on Thursday, September 21, 2017. I won this book.


A panaroma of the area to the west, north and east as looking at it from atop the mesa to the south where Okie and Tex are. Click on the above image to get a bigger image.

A panaroma of the Okie-Tex Star Party as looking at it from atop the mesa to the south where Okie and Tex are. Click on the above image to get a bigger image.

I had a great time, getting my equipment to work and trying new observing techniques.

I met up with many of my astro friends from around the country and made many more new friends.


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


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