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Dragoon Mountain Ranch – Days 4-6

March 6, 2019 – Tucson & Vail

2019 Southern Arizona Astronomy

Some of us visit the Pima Air & Space Museum today, and others go to downtown to see the Tucson Museum of Art. Since I’m a confirmed aircraft nut, I make my third visit to Pima with my buddies, finding some fascinating new aircraft and equipment to learn about. We meet back at the main building at 12:00 noon to take the tram tour around the grounds, and then it’s time for lunch in the cafeteria before carrying on with exploring the hangers and field until we are picked up at 4PM to return to the ranch.

Lockheed L-049 Constellation airliner
Lockheed L-049 Constellation airliner – Pima Air & Space Museum
RASC members at Argenzianos restaurant, Vail, AZ

We then meet the rest of our group (and others) at Argenzianos restaurant in Vail (Yelp review), which is between Tucson and Benson. This dinner meeting was arranged by one of our fellow amateur astronomers from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada who happen to all be staying in the area, with the guest of honour being a fellow RASC member and famous comet hunter David Levy and his wife Wendee. The food and service is great, and the conversation is fascinating. Who knew there were so many RASC members in southern Arizona!

March 7, 2019 – Dragoon Mountain Ranch

Northern Mockingbird at Dragoon Mountain Ranch
Northern Mockingbird

I’m up early to see another beautiful sunrise over the Dragoon Mountains. We stay home today, but some go into Benson to shop. I observe a Northern Mockingbird on the birdbath at lunchtime, and manage to get a pretty good photo through my telephoto lens. This evening we celebrate one of our group’s birthday with steak and a birthday cake.

March 8, 2019 – Dragoon Mountain Ranch

Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with a rainbow in front of the storm clouds

I fly my drone over the observatory this morning, but otherwise I just sit around inside the house. Everyone else is doing the same thing since there is a wicked wind outside – gusting to 60 mph by this afternoon. We have a spicy ground beef casserole with cheese on top for dinner – very tasty! I dash outside for the superb sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains east of us, and a rainbow appears just to put a cap on it.

The cloud cover and wind dissipates as forecast by 8PM, so the group go out for observing and night sky photography. One of the beautiful celestial targets tonight is the very faint and wispy Witch Head Nebula (see banner image above).

Dragoon Mountain Ranch
NGC 2170 Angel Nebula
NGC 2170 Angel Nebula
IC 443 Jellyfish Nebula
IC 443 Jellyfish Nebula
Overfly south to horse stable at SDG observatory,
Overfly south to horse stable at SDG observatory,
IC 2118 Witch Head Nebula in Eridanus
IC 2118 Witch Head Nebula in Eridanus
Dragoon astronomers group photo
Dragoon astronomers group photo
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with a rainbow in front of the storm clouds
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with a rainbow in front of the storm clouds
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with storm clouds
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with storm clouds
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with storm clouds
Sunset lighting the Dragoon Mountains with storm clouds
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Moroccan Chicken with Kale salad and rice
Moroccan Chicken with Kale salad and rice
Cirrocumulus clouds in the sky over the Dragoon Mountains in the early morning
Cirrocumulus clouds in the sky over the Dragoon Mountains in the early morning
Very thin waning crescent Moon over the Dragoon Mountains in the pre-dawn
Very thin waning crescent Moon over the Dragoon Mountains in the pre-dawn
Pre-dawn Sagittarius area of the Milky Way with Venus, Saturn and Jupiter over the Dragoon Mountains
Pre-dawn Sagittarius area of the Milky Way with Venus, Saturn and Jupiter over the Dragoon Mountains
Pre-dawn Sagittarius area of the Milky Way with Venus, Saturn and Jupiter over the Dragoon Mountains
Pre-dawn Sagittarius area of the Milky Way with Venus, Saturn and Jupiter over the Dragoon Mountains
The Dragoon Mountains after sunset behind Garry's place
The Dragoon Mountains after sunset behind Garry’s place
Diane installing shrouds on Garry's telescopes
Diane installing shrouds on Garry’s telescopes
Dragoon Ranch looking NW from Garry's place
Dragoon Ranch looking NW from Garry’s place
Camelot
Camelot
Torion
Torion
John, Lauri, Garry and Diane toasting our steak dinner
John, Lauri, Garry and Diane toasting our steak dinner
Lauri Roche preparing Moroccan Chicken
Lauri Roche preparing Moroccan Chicken
Burnt area
Burnt area
Ornamental gate
Ornamental gate
An estate in the burnt area that escaped any damage
An estate in the burnt area that escaped any damage
Lauri Roche, Garry Sedun & the Dragoon Mountains
Lauri Roche, Garry Sedun & the Dragoon Mountains
Garry's house
Garry’s house
Diane Bell, Lauri Roche, John McDonald and Garry Sedun walking the fence line
Diane Bell, Lauri Roche, John McDonald and Garry Sedun walking the fence line
The Milky Way & Zodiacal Light
The Milky Way & Zodiacal Light
Zodiacal Light
Zodiacal Light
Fire trucks on the road
Fire trucks on the road
Panorama of the sunrise from Garry Sedun's place
Panorama of the sunrise from Garry Sedun’s place
Wildfires on nearby hills
Wildfires on nearby hills
Wildfires on nearby hills
Wildfires on nearby hills
Wildfires on nearby hills
Wildfires on nearby hills
NGC 2174 emission & reflection nebula
NGC 2174 emission & reflection nebula
M1 Crab Nebula
M1 Crab Nebula
A successful V curve focus on the 20" Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
A successful V curve focus on the 20″ Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
RASC group enjoying a rib dinner
RASC group enjoying a rib dinner
Boots enjoying a special treat of chicken giblets
Boots enjoying a special treat of chicken giblets
Metal art on the ouside of Garry's house
Metal art on the ouside of Garry’s house
SBIG 2000 CCD camera on the 20" Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
SBIG 2000 CCD camera on the 20″ Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
20" Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
20″ Newtonian f4.4 imaging astrograph
John McDonald at the controls of Garry Sedun's observatory
John McDonald at the controls of Garry Sedun’s observatory
Fisheye view of the southern night sky from Dragoon Mountains Ranch
Fisheye view of the southern night sky from Dragoon Mountains Ranch
Panoramic view of the Dragoon Ranch land
Panoramic view of the Dragoon Ranch land
The Belt of Venus and the Dragoon Mountains
The Belt of Venus and the Dragoon Mountains
The Belt of Venus and the Dragoon Mountains
The Belt of Venus and the Dragoon Mountains
Light from the setting Sun on the Dragoon mountains
Light from the setting Sun on the Dragoon mountains
Reg presenting a two volume star atlas to Garry
Reg presenting a two volume star atlas to Garry
RASC members outside of Garry Sedun's observatory
RASC members outside of Garry Sedun’s observatory
Cactus Wrens on the branches of an Ocotillo
Cactus Wrens on the branches of an Ocotillo
Birds feeding on a seed brick
Birds feeding on a seed brick
Kitchen and nook
Kitchen and nook
Living room
Living room
Cody's house in the early morning light
Cody’s house in the early morning light
The BBQ patio area beside the pool
The BBQ patio area beside the pool
Cody's house in the early morning light
Cody’s house in the early morning light
Ranch land grass and a fenceline in the early morning light
Ranch land grass and a fenceline in the early morning light
Ornate fireplace in Cody's house
Ornate fireplace in Cody’s house
Gate sign: Dragoon Mountain Ranch
Gate sign: Dragoon Mountain Ranch