John’s January Trip through Oregon

Map_Oregon_Winter2016Around the time of our last RECON campaign event, I had the opportunity to make a four-day road trip through our Southern Oregon and Northern California RECON sites. The map provided here highlights stops along the way. I landed at the Bend-Redmond Airport on Sunday, January 17. That evening, team members from Redmond, Bend, Sisters, Gilchrist, Sun River, and even White Swan all met at the Oregon Observatory. Despite the fact that it was snowing outside, it was a very productive opportunity to reconnect and talk through issues regarding RECON equipment and procedures, including our new procedure to take sky flats and dark field videos during future events.

The next day, I headed to Paisley, where I was joined by team members from Christmas Valley, Paisley, Lakeview, and Klamath Falls. Again, clouds kept us from practicing for Tuesday’s event, but it was useful for everyone to ask questions about equipment and alignment procedures.

Tuesday morning, I presented to middle school science students in Lakeview, and then I headed down to Fall River and Burney, California. That night, during the event involving 03WL7, the skies cleared around sunset allowing for a successful observation session with new team members from Burney. Sadly, most of the rest of the Western United States was clouded out that evening, and only four of our 55 telescopes sites had clear skies!

Chiloquin_RailstationAfter presenting to students in Burney on Wednesday morning, I stopped in on team members in Tulelake and Chiloquin. Marc and I had not made it to Chiloquin during our recruitment trips during Fall 2014, so it was great to visit this community.

Gilchrist_MarqueWednesday evening, I met with three team members in Klamath Falls The next day, I headed up to Gilchrist, the home of the Grizzlies, where I met with students that morning. This was the final RECON site that I had not yet had a chance to visit. In meeting with the students there, we had a great time discussing the RECON project and ways that students could be involved.

I wanted to thank the roughly 50 team members from 13 RECON communities who came out to meet with me during this trip. I am truly honored to work with such a great group of dedicated, flexible, and fun individuals!

Nemesis in the North

At a very civilized hour Friday evening November 1, 2013, the asteroid (128) Nemesis is predicted to occult 2UCAC 30123334 (Sat. 2 Nov. 4:01 UT).  In Plumas County (Quincy, Greenville, and Portola) we are planning to use it as a warm-up for Iduna a week later.  We are near the southern edge pf the predicted shadow path so this event also presents an opportunity for the RECON communities to our north.OW-NemesisMap

The magnitude of the star is actually less than that of the asteroid so the light curve will be shallow.  Full details of the occultation are online at
The field is mildly challenging because it is relatively sparse and faint.  Nemesis field

Viipuri Lightcurve

A subset of the RECON network self-organized last week to measure an occultation by (2258) Viipuri the night of Friday, August 2 (August 3 UT).  Observers in Susanville, Greenville, Quincy, Portola, Carson City, and Gardnerville all participated.

Starting at 04:52:07UT, Buck Bateson in Susanville was ecstatic to see the target star drop in brightness for under 5 seconds. Below is a preliminary lightcurve that Jim Bean has generated from the Susanville data.

Viipuri Lightcurve Susanville

At the same time, Jim and others recorded anomalous but less conclusive data from a location roughly four miles south of Portola.  Meanwhile, approximately 40 seconds prior to this, Jerry Bardecker in Gardnerville measured a half second drop in intensity for the target star.

Before making a conclusive interpretation, we plan to take more time to reanalyze the data from all of the sites that contributed to this campaign.  However, it appears that Susanville and (possibly) Portola recorded main body of asteroid while Gardnerville may have recorded a smaller object orbiting along with Viipuri.

Thanks to all who have contributed to this campaign!  More to come!!!




Three Occultations Targeted for July

Happy Fourth of July!


This month, the RECON network will be observing three different occultation events involving Main Belt Asteroids.  Because we know the orbits of these objects better than TNOs, the predicted uncertainties for the shadow paths are lower.  While all in the network are welcome and encouraged to participate and practice on all three events, we are specifically asking smaller subsets of the network to record data so that we can demonstrate the ability of the RECON to detect three occultation events this month.  Events are summarized below along with links to the information page for each:

2013 July 11, (1910) Mikhailov – CENTRAL region (Burney/Fall River, Susanville, Greenville, Quincy, Portola, Reno, Carson City, and Yerington)

2013 July 16, (25) Phocaea – SOUTHERN region (Reno, Carson City, Yerington, Hawthorne, Tonopah, and Bishop)

2013 July 30, (387) Aquitania – NORTHERN region (Burney/Fall River, Cedarville, Tulelake)

Please don’t hesitate to post questions and thoughts on this blog using the “Leave a reply” link below or by going to the individual event pages linked above!

North of Reno Part 2

This blog is a bit late, but I wanted to provide an update on the last two days of our trip visiting prospective communities north of Reno last week.

Tulelake Water TowerOn Monday, October 29, Marc and I met up with the middle school and high school science teachers in Tulelake, located on the California/Oregon border.  They were very enthusiastic and plan to talk with others in their community about participating.




We then drove through Alturas and stopped by the local library.  The librarian there, Cheryl, provided several suggestions of individuals from Alturas and Cedarville who might be interested in participating.  One of these leads has resulted in potential connections with Surprise Valley High School.


That afternoon, we stopped by Lassen High School in Susanville for a followup visit with the science teachers there and also a tour of their campus.  Following this quick visit, we ended our day in Reno.



On Tuesday, we had a very productive meeting with three science teachers from Carson High School.  One of these teachers has been coordinating with volunteers from the Jack C. Davis Observatory in Carson City to involve his students in occultation research already.    We also enjoyed meeting with an amateur astronomer who drove up to meet us from Gardnerville who is interested in joining our project by purchasing his own camera setup to use at his personal observatory.

Finally, we received a very thorough tour of the University of Nevada Reno campus from faculty there. We are still making arrangements regarding the venue for our training workshop to be held in late March or early April.

Over the course of our six day tour, Marc and I were able to meet up with 39 individuals in a total of 12 meetings.  We were both very encouraged by the level of interest and enthusiasm as well as diversity and character found in each community we visited. We look forward to receiving Community Team Applications and Observation Mentor Applications for all that we visited and more. We will begin reviewing these applications on December 3 and plan to identify our key network leaders before the end of the year.

Thanks to all who were able to meet up with us on our trek and for those of you who are following our blog posts.  Feel free to contact for additional information on our project.