2013 Carson Workshop Notes

by Kathy Trujillo

The RECON spring training was held in Carson City at the observatory. I arrived in time for the 8:00 to midnight training on Friday, April 5th.

As all the other teams had already set up their scope earlier in the day, my task was to do so for the first time. Scattered about my set-up were boxes and packing materials and it is clear that a good tracking method for parts and pieces will be helpful.

 Red and Byron were my capable team leaders and they instructed me on how to assemble the telescope and attach the camera, timer and DVR. I have attempted to put together a detailed (with photos) manual. I hope to make it comprehensive enough that anyone will be able to accomplish set with minimum stress.

 We focused the scope, star hopped and recorded on the DVR the first night. There were various little tips and hints that I learned along the way:

  1.  Color coded parts are useless under the red light
  2. Turn DVR upside down for slewing
  3. Create transparencies for start hopping
  4. Velcro will help with parts and pieces (or even a clipboard) as there will be wind
  5. Learn  the  “hot  pixels”  on  the  DVR  (use  a  Vis-à-vis  water  based  pen  to  obscure  if  you’d  like)
  6. A roll of taillight tape will help make good LED lights
  7.  Weighted workspace can be helpful
  8. It is important to practice the steps
  9. Allow sufficient time, clouds can obscure your ability to get in focus
  10. Purchase a device to display Universal time
  11. Learn the constellations (very helpful)
  12. Build an artificial star with an LED white light  and  a  1/16”  perfectly  round  hole. It  makes  a  good  indoor  practice   target.
  13. Metric measurements are preferred (also universal).

 The  next  day  we  did  numerous  “hands  on”  activities,  some  of  which  I  might  actually  be  able  to  replicate. We then developed  an  “elevator  speech.” (See: Elevator Pitches)

We talked about ways to get the word out on our project:

  1. Talk to service clubs and organizations (Lions, Chamber of Commerce, 4-H)
  2. Create a local astronomy chapter under the auspices of the Northern Nevada Astronomical Society. 3) Get the local community college to start an astronomy class and include RECON
  3. Information booths at County Fairs, Job Fairs, Science Fairs, Earth Day events
  4. Make presentation to local school board
  5. Get publicity published in local newspaper
  6. Create RECON newsletter
  7. Consult (like) RECON Facebook page
  8. Start an astronomy club in the school and offer extra credit

During closing thoughts Marc invited us to help name KBOs and gave the parameters.


  1. Kindle app for star hopping www.nextgenscience.org heaven-above.com
  2. skymaps.com
  3. Donors Choose.com Spikard.boulder.swri.edu/upload.html The Nice Model on U-Tube

 Terms to Know:

  1. Kuiper Belt Objects
  2. Sagerial time
  3. Universal Time
  4. KBO-2000CR105 (156321)
  5. Cold classicals