Normally July is written off by me for any street astro programs due to the heat of the late afternoon/early evening and the unstable weather conditions such as t-storms and then the local brush fires they can create. Sometimes too fires elsewhere can send huge clouds of ash and smoke into our meadow and really foul any chance of viewing. This July is cooler than normal and drier if that is possible here in this high desert area. Last evening was just awesome with light breezes and a rapidly dropping temperature. I was in my backyard enjoying dinner and a bino survey of a wonderful gibbous moon and the thought came to me : get out and share it! Just then my phone rang and there was Mr.Drive By from his western NY location out and about enjoying views of the lunar south polar region. Well after some quick banter and exchange of text messages I was in the garage loading up my wheels with my outreach gear with a lunar mission in mind to share with the walking public at the Marina. These spur of the moment outings either go really well or really poor - which will it be? When I'm hurried to get out I will sometimes forget something - what will be be this time?
On my drive over to the park I'm kicking myself for not getting out earlier, waiting on Ma Nature to be more favorable to me, wondering what I might have forgotten all the time surveying Luna on my transit thinking about key lunar landforms to show. When I arrive the first two spots I picked to set up where unavailable due to the parking areas being full - RATS! I wanted to try two different than locations due to the amount of folks at the park this evening so it was back to my "normal" location on the east end of the park. Low and behold a perfect parking space is open just for me and I start too unload my wears and to get this program off and running.
What did I leave at home? Well five things in my rush to get out the door:
- My camera is sitting on my computer work station. I though it was in my resource materials bin. OK no pics tonight but I sure like to have them of some of the nice people I meet.
- Light shield for the telescope on the shelf in the garage. OK not too bad being as this is a moon program.
- Plastic delivery case to support C8's power supply and inverter. I do not like my power supply getting dirty on the ground. OK lets use my step stool to hold these. Parents you will have to lift your kids tonight to the eyepiece!
- Laminated lunar and phase cycle posters - I use these a lot. OK I will make due with just one of my large format astronomy atlases and no resource table setup. Tonight it will be just the scope with Mr.SUG providing the verbal commentary and my guest holding the atlas !
- Did not consider the more August like conditions so the SUG is starting to chill in the cool of the 10pm evening with the wind starting to pick up. Great for walking, running, and biking but not for a lightly dressed SUG attempting to show off the sky. Light layers rule the evening here as do cotton slacks, a hat, and a lite fleece.
- My power snack. Yes this guy must take in calories to maintain his energy level. My bucket is starting to empty a bit but the visitors just keep coming. I must press on to complete my mission.