Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Night Street Astro

I had a really fun program this past Friday and here's some of the happenings:

Allison and dad Paul decided to do the Sidewalk Universe Guy's "Jupiter Challenge" after a short 5 minute presentation of this Solar System giant. Both made the observations with ease along Allison's older brother who was able to pick up on the subtle colors of Jupiter's swirling atmosphere! They were pretty stoked about it all.

Robert came by with his family troop to take in some astro fun and by the smile on his face you would have thought he found some buried treasure. What he did find was the treasure of discovery and a real personal experience with our moon's rugged surface. "I feel like I'm holding it in my hand!" was his response to his first time experience viewing through a scope. Enough said!

Emilee stopped by with Jared and baby Oliver upon the recommendation of Jared's encounter with the SUG a few months back. She was taking in all that the sky was offering her. After nailing the Jupiter Challenge on to Uranus and then the moon. She made quality observations with minimal coaching and was getting hooked very quickly! Can the astronomy bug be contained? NO!

Bundled up and cozy there was hardly a peep from baby Oliver. I wonder if this young family will have a telescope in their future? Based on this evenings exposure to the sky I believe so!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

International Observe The Moon Night(s) 2010

With our nice late summer weather showing signs of fall I thought I would get my butt out the door and start the IOMN event early.

Tuesday was showing a wonderful just before first quarter moon with Aristoteles and Eudoxus craters right on the lunar terminator along with Mare Serenitatis western wrinkle ridges in a fine display. Wonderful sight to kick off this weeks lunar fest !

Elyse came by early on while still light and said "I have been looking for you forever! Where have you been?" She had heard about the SUG from other walkers around the park and just happens to be a good friend of my son's girlfriend. And it was very recently that she was able to connect these two astro guys as the same. Well she was really enjoying the early evening lunar excursion and came back later with pal Andy and lots of questions. These two made nice astro music together at the scope sharing questions and enjoying the whole Lunar and Jupiter experience. I had 32 visitors and that was really good for a Tuesday night.

9/15/10 Wednesday evening started out on the windy side so my plans to put out my resource table went by the wayside. But I got C8 up and running quickly and people started to gather. With so many lunar delights to show off it was hard to stay on just one. But this familiar crater trio bought wows to the masses with lunar day break showing up on central peaks with pitch black crater floors! The pictured family stayed glued to the scope and enjoyed astro presentations for a good hour with the kids being like sponges absorbing everything ! Dad and mom along with grandmother were heartily involved with this outdoor school experience. Mom really was shocked and delighted with the stark beauty of the lunar surface and dad enjoyed Jupiter's moons and Red Spot show. I had 41 visitors and many want to come back later in the week to experience more of the unfolding show.

9/18/10 Well its finally here - the night of nights so we're official now with our outreach to the public concerning the moon. I wanted to get out on Thursday evening but was prevented due to some allergy symptoms. So here I am anticipating a fun evening out and the park looks a little quieter than expected and sure enough it is. I really thought that with the fine weather we have been having that the place would be bustling with activity but no. I can't leave now for I have had several hits on my Night Sky Network address so I am committed to the cause right here. I am glad that the folks that were aware of the InOMN and inquired did saw up and their interest level was indeed high. Early on the Bay of Rainbows and the Jura Mtn light show held top billing much to the delight of the budding Selenographers but later on the sunrise on the Gassendi/Letronne crater complex was stirring the minds of the viewers. Tiffany and son Hunter enjoyed a bit of Lunar exploration with oohs and wows following every new discovery.

All totaled over the course of three outings during the week I had around 100 visitors. I estimate about 25-30 walked off not wanting to wait for others in the line to the scope before them. But those that stayed and participated got to enjoy old moon a bit. Fun conversation filled the air, space science was taught, some pseudo science debunked, new friendships made, and some imaginations ignited!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Sunday Evening Under the Sky

I had a really fun outing this past Sunday of the holiday weekend. I was invited out to a volunteers BBQ for Manna Cafe which is a outreach of various services to the poor and struggling of Carson City NV. This turned out to be a really awesome time as we had excellent skies and a wonderful group of people which kept me hopping over my 3 hours out under the sky. The time went so fast it felt like I had hardly started. Lots of good interaction, questions, and everyone loved the views and constellation tour toward the end of the evening. What was really fun about this time out was the simplicity of heart and attitude my crowd (no science geeks or scholars here) and the enjoyment that the sky gave to everyone. A joy just to watch the group just take it in and enjoy each others company.

This young lady was totally enraptured by the views through the scope. It is always fun to see how expending gas shells from dying stars ignites the imagination !