This was not to be missed - two of the brightest objects in our Earthly skies after our Sun in a convenient display to be enjoyed and pondered. I had 36 visitors before the sky closed it's curtain on this display . What an opportunity to share the gospel of universe - simple alignments that are soooooo noticeable and raises all kinds of questions like:
"What is it?" " Are the Moon and Venus always lined up like that - are they always in the same phase together?" "Is this a sign foretelling of something really important?" People were running over to my little station tonight - no time for people pics just views through the scope , modeling, and fielding questions - gotta love it! This is a pic of our Sunset with Venus and Luna behind the clouds - can you see them? I can't!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Our 3 week blast of winter has abated for a while.....time to get out and do some street astronomy - besides personal observing! I have really looked forward to doing a series of sessions on the Stellar Life Cycle because it is all displayed out there for us to see and ponder right now with our fabulous winter skies! Orion's Star Factory, Star Clusters, Stellar Giants and picturesque Binaries, Taurus's Crab Nebula and Pleaides, Gemini's middle age Star Clusters and the Eskimo Planetary. So much to show the public and capture their imagination with. Sandra and Salvador saw it all! Sandra had some astronomy in her primary school overseas, but it never really connected with her - now she had the opportunity to see it for herself. What a difference to really see this stuff and connect with the universe in a personal way.
Rodolfo came by early in the evening and made the most of his visit! Questions upon questions - people want to know and understand this universe of ours. Rodolfo is a heavy equipment operator currently working on our local interstate system. Astronomy was something that has always captured his imagination - but it was always out of reach for him - so he thought! It does not require a bundle of money, only your time, curiosity and energy. After viewing the crescent Venus, Orion's Star Factories and Clusters, the Crab Star Death Nebula, and learning to use a star wheel he was hooked! We discussed a basic budget to get started and educational resources online to help shorten the learning curve. One of the best things you can do is hang out with other astro addicted people and feed this thing you got going on in your life!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Our weather continues to be wonderful - the sky offers plenty of celestial goodies for the public to see - like tonight's occultation! Most people are somewhat familiar with eclipses of the Sun and Moon but do not realize that other similar events happen very regularly between the Moon and objects such as stars and planets - like tonight's event with the Pleiades - a wonderful naked eye star cluster in Taurus. What a opportunity to see first hand movement of the Moon against one of the most well know sky objects! And it did not disappoint! Events like these open up tremendous opportunities to answer all kinds of astronomical questions ranging anywhere from the nature of the Moon and Stars to celestial movements to the history of how we understand the universe! Not only do I field questions but I want to hear about my guests experiences with the sky and astronomy . In the pic is Juan. He is a member of our country's National Guard with a rank of Sargent. He was glued to the scope! He works in computer science and would like to pursue more astronomy in his life. He received 2 CD's to take home so he can begin to educate his young daughter about the universe. Thanks Juan for your service to this nation and your devotion to your daughter's education!
"If you set it up, they will come!" Given the opportunity to peer through a scope and to have some astronomy education is something most folks will take up on. The key is to take advantage of astronomical events, good weather and be ready to engage to public in creative interactive ways! Some of the simplest things like today's occultation open up a world of discovery to the public were they can participate and observe first hand nature's happenings. There was a bunch of energy with this group! "Does the Moon do this all the time? "How far away are the Pleiades." "Does the Moon ever cover a planet?" "Just how big are those craters?" "I just saw the Moon cover one of the stars!" "Those mountains are really cool!" Faye is the lady with the white coat in the middle of the pic. She stopped by early on and we had a wonderful discussion about astronomy and her life experiences in Alaska and Guam. She loves the sky and is active in trying to get her neighbors out of the house to see them! In her travels around the world with her late husband she has had the opportunity to view the sky from several hemispheres and in Alaska very rarely saw them because of clouds! Thank you Faye for the fun conversation and your excitment over todays event!