I moved my little astronomy side show to a new location for this week. It is a popular public park just a few miles south of downtown Reno. It has a wonderful south-east/west view, good skies for a city setting and is very popular with families and walkers! Wonderful views of the Sierra Nv! There are also very mature trees bordering the lake's walkway which happen to cover many of the street lamps! I could not ask for a better setting!
I had a light set-up for my first outing as I was not sure about the level of response - it turned out to be excellent. I was just setting up and folks were starting to congregate and ask questions! I have a new NSN/IYA banner which really catches the eye of passersby. I shared views of Venus's skinny side - and as the skies darken I moved on to Stellar Evolution, Star Clusters, Binary Stars as the winter sky is full of these goodies! No problems star hopping to anything! I was so busy I had no time to take any pics. I had a total of 38 visitors over 2 hours.
David is a local casino worker with very little science education . I let him loose with binos after some basic instruction on usage and navigation - well within minutes he was viewing all the brighter clusters in Orion, Taurus, Canis Major. He was spellbound to say the least! He could not believe how easy it is to do basic viewing! David also noticed the difference in star concentrations over the sky - which lead to a lesson on galaxy structure - AND HE UNDERSTOOD IT ALL!
Robert is a retired gent with a very large family of 11 and a whole army of grand kids! He is an active birder but has had limited astronomy experience. He has a basic knowledge of star names and constellations but no viewing or navigation experience. That was about to change! Robert spent an hour plus with me and diligently LISTENED to EVERY presentation I made and was just taking it in! As the evening progressed he was getting the observers eye and seeing more and more both naked eye and with the scope! I think he's hooked for good! Robert was very kind to help me pack up at the end. Great first outing at a new location!