Friday, September 18, 2009

9-16-09 Jupiter And A Garnet Star Street Astro

With a cool late summer evening and time to spare lets go out and share some photons with the public. Jupiter is seen early at sunset and is a obvious target to help spread the cheer and excitement about the IYA and Galileo's first peeks at the night sky. Most visitors love seeing Jupiter's banded atmosphere, and the Medici Stars. I always give along with their view through the scope a brief 5 minute picture book presentation on Jupiter which will in most cases move into a longer one dealing with its structure and environment, and moons. But with fall around the corner the N.E sky holds a stellar treasure that must be shown - Mu Cephei "Herschel's Garnet Star". Even with the local lighting there is so much I can show the public and this one never disappoints with it's ruby color set against the starry background of fainter stars. When my visitors see this stellar gem and it's beaming color most want to know more. So now we can do brief presentations on stars, stellar life cycles, star comparasion and before you know it 30 minutes have gone by and folks are engaged! All because of a simple stellar gem.

Sherri is one of our local dedicated public servants who in her regular rounds checks in on me and talks up my programs to visitors at the park. Tonight she was able to stay a while and really got some education. She has a real interest in aerospace and astronomy. But her radio went off and it was time to take care of some business.

Charles and Tina stopped by and were engaged right at the start. Tina said "it is time to put my 6th grade science education to work - lets go"! By the time we were done with it all 40 minutes had flown by and Tina mentioned "hey they didn't teach me any of this stuff"!

That is why I am here!

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