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Nightfall 2019 Recap

October 24 – 27

The Premium Presentation was by Richard S. Wright, Jr. of Software Bisque. His topic was Best Practices in Astrophotography.

Free presentations included:

  • Latest & Greatest Stuff with Simon Tang of Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes
  • Intro to Nightscape Photography with Janet Parr
  • My Personal Observing Adventures with Dave Nakamoto
  • Five Astro Images that Destroyed the World with Alex McConahay
  • Joining the Billion Light-Year Club with Don Pensack
  • Kumeyaay Stars with Michael Connolly Miskwish
  • Nightfall Sky Tour with Dennis Mammana
  • Under the Kumeyaay Stars with Michael Connolly Miskwish

See the full 2019 program here.

Weather: Temperatures reached the low to mid 90s during the day with evening lows in the mid to high 50s. We had clear nights with just a few high clouds Friday night. There were also some gusty winds on Friday during the day but they settled down by the evening hours.

Attendance was excellent. The hotel rooms and RV spaces were nearly fully booked.


Nightfall 2018 Recap

November 1 – 4

Our Premium Presentation included 4 different speakers on 4 different topics:

  • Greg Benecke: My Star Trek – Lessons in Astrophotography
  • Tom Bash: High Resolution Solar System Imaging
  • Daniel Perry: Understanding Power in the Field
  • Alex McConahay: Imaging Under the Hood

Free presentations included:

  • What’s New & Exciting in the Astronomy Market with Simon Tang of Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes
  • How Far Can I See? Further Than You Think! with John Goss of the Astronomical League
  • How to Take Your First Astrophotos with Alex McConahay
  • Processing Your First Astrophotos with Alex McConahay
  • Solar Viewing in RV Space #83 with Simon Tang
  • New Collimation Techniques with Don Pensack of Eyepieces Etc.
  • Nightfall Sky Tour with Dennis Mammana

Weather: Temperatures reached the low 80s during the day and lows were very comfortable in the high 50s. We had high clouds most nights that usually cleared around midnight or a bit later. Very light breeze now and then.

Attendance was excellent. Almost all rooms and RV spaces were occupied.


Nightfall 2017 Recap

October 19 – 22

Presentations included:

Also during Nightfall 2017, we had solar viewing with Norman van Treeck and Michael Frasier and a panel discussion on taking your gear on the road.

Weather: Temperatures got to the high 80s and low 90s during the day and lows were a very comfortable low to mid-60s. Some clouds passed through Friday and Saturday evenings but cleared for those who stayed up late enough. Wind picked up a bit on Friday but was otherwise mild.

Attendance was excellent once again with hotel rooms mostly booked and the RV park was about 95% full.


Nightfall 2016 Recap

October 27 – 30

Despite less than optimal weather this time around, the 23rd Nightfall Star Party & Imaging Conference was another great success. Speakers and their presentations included:

Be sure to visit the sites of our presenters and sponsors:
Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes | Oceanside Photo & Telescope | Stellarvue Telescopes | Eyepieces Etc. | Dennis Mammana

Weather: Days were about 85-90° F and evenings were generally around 70° F (high 60s at the coolest). Wind was mostly non-existent and very light when it did show up. Clouds gave us some trouble this year with only a few clear hours each night but fortunately, there was no rain.

Attendance was excellent with hotel rooms mostly booked and the RV park was about 95% full.

Nightfall 2016: Halloween RV. Photo by Alex McConahay. Nightfall 2016: Imaging scopes covered up during the day. Photo by Alex McConahay. Nightfall 2016: Daniel Mounsey gives a talk on the latest and greatest equipment available. Photo by Alex McConahay. Nightfall 2016: Star Party-goers gather for a potluck dinner. Photo by Alex McConahay. Nightfall 2016: Star Party-goers gather for a potluck dinner. Photo by Alex McConahay.
Nightfall 2016: Sunrise from the nearby Anza-Borrego badlands. Photo by Daniel Perry. Nightfall 2016: Sunrise from the nearby Anza-Borrego badlands. Photo by Daniel Perry. Nightfall 2016: Sunrise from the nearby Anza-Borrego badlands. Photo by Daniel Perry. Nightfall 2016: The Orion Nebula taken by Daniel Perry.

The video below isn’t a “Nightfall” video per se, but it was taken during Nightfall in the Badlands east of the Palm Canyon Hotel. Toward the end, there are also some shots of the hotel. Turn up the volume and enjoy the experience (the video is intentionally blank for about the first 15 seconds)!


Nightfall 2015 Recap

November 5 – 8

The 22nd Nightfall Star Party & Imaging Conference was another great success. Speakers and their presentations included:

  • Adam Block (University of Arizona Science SkyCenter and AdamBlockPhotos.com): Adam drew on his years of experience in outreach and image processing to engage his audience with expert advice concerning target selection, image composition, color balance and various processing techniques in Photoshop and PixInsight to get the most from your data.
  • Dennis Mammana (dennismammana.com): Night Sky Tour and Tales from the Dark Side. In his night sky tour, Dennis gave us an excellent overview of the autumn night sky in the amphitheater. He discussed stellar and galactic distances while also providing brief glimpses into the mythology that led to the constellation names. His Tales from the Dark Side presentation discussed adventures in solar eclipse chasing from Angkor Wat to the plains of Africa, and tips on how to engage in astro travel.
  • Daniel Mounsey (Woodland Hills Telescope): In What’s New & How Much Will It Take from My Kid’s Inheritance Daniel reviewed some new equipment available to amateur astronomers and imagers.
  • Don Pensack (Eyepieces Etc.): In his short talk, Don provided volumes of information on eyepiece design, best use, and other helpful information on those little hand grenades on which we so freely spend hundreds of dollars.
  • Alex McConahay and Mark Melnyk: RAS club members gave introductory talks on using Photoshop and PixInsight for image processing, as well as musings about direction and motion in the universe.

Be sure to visit the sites of our presenters:
AdamBlockPhotos.com | DennisMammana.com | EyepiecesEtc.com

Weather: Days were about 70-75° F and evenings were generally around 55° F (it got as cool as 52° F early on Thursday morning). Wind was almost non-existent except for light afternoon breezes and the skies were perfectly clear every night. There was a brilliant blue-green fireball on Thursday night around 6:05PM, and on Saturday we got an excellent show in the western sky courtesy of the US Navy. They launched an unarmed Trident II missile from a submarine off the San Diego coast. Check out the video below at about 2m03s!

The hotel rooms were fully reserved except for a couple no-shows and the RV park was about 80% full.


Nightfall 2014 Recap

October 23 – 26

Southern California’s best star party was another success in 2014. Speakers and their presentations included:

  • Warren Keller (billionsandbillions.com and IP4AP.com): It’s Not the Plane… It’s the Pilot! Flying with Photoshop and PixInsight. In this premium 4-hour workshop, Warren reviewed image processing techniques and how to make the most of your data using two of the most popular image processing software packages.
  • Dennis Mammana (dennismammana.com): Flying Blue Marble and Night Sky Tour
  • David Ho (hotechusa.com): Practical Collimation
  • Daniel Mounsey (Woodland Hills Telescope): New Equipment on Which to Spend Lots of Money!
  • Norm Van Treeck, Daniel Perry and Mark Melnyk: Overview of New Consumer Camera Options — Quick Overview of the Canon M and Sony A7S mirrorless cameras as well as the new GoPro Hero 4.

Weather: Days were about 90-95° F and evenings got as cool as 58°F in the early morning hours. Wind was almost non-existent and the skies were perfectly clear on Wednesday and Thursday nights. There was a brief cloud disturbance on Friday night/Saturday morning that lasted only about 1 hour. Saturday night into Sunday morning however, clouded up and remained cloudy.

The hotel rooms were fully reserved except for a couple no-shows and the RV park was about 70% full (even though reservations indicated it would be more full).


Nightfall 2013 Recap

October 31 – November 3

After a one-year hiatus, Nightfall returned and was better than ever! Speakers and their presentations included:

NOTE: Neil Fleming also offers personal, hands-on tutoring to help you process your images. He can even use your data to get the most out of your images. Check out his website to learn more!

Weather: Days were about 75°-80°F and evenings got as cool as 50°F in the early morning hours. Wind was almost non-existent and the skies were perfectly clear from Wednesday through Sunday, except for a small disturbance that blew through on Saturday evening (it cleared up by about 10:30PM).

The hotel rooms were fully reserved except for a couple no-shows and the RV park was about 80-90% full.


2012 Recap

It was a dark time and not in a good way. The ownership and future of the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort was up in the air. Hence, there was no Nightfall 2012.


1993-2011 Recap

Nightfall started in 1993 with the goal of hosting a star party under dark skies at a resort with full amenities. It was an effort by the same folks who put on the RTMC Astronomy Expo. It has since changed hands and is now operated/hosted by the Riverside Astronomical Society.

Every Nightfall has been well-attended and, as far as we can tell, everyone who attends has a great time!