Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quickie SEMASWO Outreach

Hey we have a clearing!!!!! If only for a few hours this past Friday afternoon but it is perfect for timing for a SEMASWO. So much fun to have folks come by and inquire as to we can observe this afternoon. I tell them that "there are 3 astronomical objects to enjoy right now and easy to see !" Of course this starts the questions which I carefully place back to them and challenge them to make the observation and guess for themselves! Most folks will not notice this 6 day Luna and do not associate the Sun lighting day or the Earth under their feet as objects of daytime observation and contemplation. I also hear "is there special event is happening today?" My response which is well programed is that "there is always something special happening , we just have to educate ourselves to see them!"

With the arrival last week of a new NSN toolkit with it's awesome Earth/Moon graphic plastic roll up poster and a brief window to the sky out I zoom with my gear intending to do one of my Sun Earth Moon Afternoon Sunshine Walkers Outreaches (SEMASWO) with all the important celestial objects in their proper positions!

Folks were out in abundance enjoying the afternoon and as I started to unload and set up people started to drop by and inquire. Armed with the new mega moon poster I had folks make naked eye observations identifying features not noticed by them before. These large format posters attract a bunch of attention when displayed! Out came the solar viewers to see Sol's face and of course we must model this Sun Earth Moon system while still setting up! Feast or famine so just run with it even though I like being prepared with everything all set up and ready to go.

These guys here made my afternoon. High school fellows out of school early enjoying the afternoon would normally not have much time for science stuff but these guys enjoyed the SUG's astro presentation and natures happenings that they came back twice over as the moon brightened with the lowering Sun giving us a road to follow to Jupiter's brightening pin point in the twilight sky. Impressed with Jupiters moon gaggle lined up on one side, and the banding of it's high speed atmosphere these fellows got a lot out of their visit.

Setting Sun winds cooled things down really quick and it was getting hard to keep my resource table from blowing away so I had to call it a afternoon - but not before one personal observation. Jupiter's South Temperate Belt is starting to reappear so why not try for it as I'm packing up. So let's adjust the polarizing filter a bit and wait for a window of still air to arrive.

Well sure enough there it is as marked by a slight darkening in the region where it is suppose to be! No not the dark belt we are familiar with more like Jupiter wearing nylons! I did not see the new white oval till later on at home with a brief window of nice viewing. Oh how I wanted to share these observations with others but that time will come I am sure!


Thot Pran said...

Hey there Rich!
Glad to see you got out and wow, what a big poster! I can see why it drew people, and I'm sure your positive enthusiasm kept them at the eyepiece for a good time. I can't wait til we at ECMAC get our first toolkit! I have plans for some fun outreach.


Sidewalk Universe said...

You are going to have some fun. When you are able to incorporate a learning activity with the scope views it is a unbeatable combination.

Your visitors will remember their encounter with Thot Pran.......