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NSP 4 (1997)

August 2, 1997

Where I camped at the Snake River campsite on the southwest shore of Merritt Reservoir: the main observing site of NSP.

On the night of August 2, shortly after I arrived, a typical High Plains thunderstorm (taking after Hobbes, i.e., nasty, brutish, and short) soaked the Snake River campground area, where I stayed. Although Merritt Reservoir is small and the wind was blowing across rather than along it, numerous whitecaps appeared on the lake around sunset.

August 3, 1997

The weather was a bit better today, though it wasn't until after midnight that it cleared up. The air was fairly humid, so skies weren't as clear as they normally are here; the limiting magnitude was "only" +7.5.

My two telescopes at sunset: BURT, the Big Ugly Red Thing (a heavily hacked Coulter Odyssey 10" Dob) and ERNI, Edmund's Rich-Field Newtonian Instrument (better known as the Edmund Astroscan, a 4.25" reflector)

"Dob Ridge", the high point of the main NSP observing site. Sometimes called "Dave Hill", especially during previous NSPs, since Dave Knisely, Dave Hamilton, Dave Scherping, and I would either set up or hang out here after dark.

August 4-5, 1997

I spent most of these days either (a) hanging out in air conditioned buildings in Valentine or (b) cursing the
clouds.

Just north of Merritt Reservoir is some country unexpected in northern Nebraska. One of two sizable waterfalls within half an hour of Valentine, the Snake River Falls is an unexpected beauty, either from a distance or closer in. Natural air conditioning!

The Peppermill Restaurant in Valentine gives a fitting welcome to NSP 4 participants.

August 6, 1997

The weather was a bit better this night and I was able to get a solid night of first-class observing. That is, until the dew kicked in and threatened to dissolve ERNI.

Lakeside visitors at the resort area on the reservoir. Things were just getting started at this time; later on, there was a big barbecue, volleyball match, and water balloon fight.

BURT and ERNI again, just before sunset

Getting a little silly here; I suppose I could be saying
something like "Give me your tired, your patient, your photon-seeking astronomers, yearning to see..."

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