Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Update From SUGLand

The Sidewalk Universe Guy is busy; helping Tom with his garage sale dob ( which is coming along nicely and should be making a debut at this coming Sunday's 1/30 Meetup ) and me getting prepared and overseeing the Meetup group itself. This new outreach adventure is a bit of work on my end but the early results are very encouraging in spite of our cloudy skies for the first two events. Hey these guys want to learn! I still have other people joining Suburban Sky Explorers too, yes more too infect!

This Sunday we were clouded out but everyone showed and followed the lesson plan which included mimicking seeing the sky and orientation with the star wheels. This group really put their hearts into it and it will pay off later on when things clear!

Here's our group all bundled and warm! I had several call in sick so we were shy 3. To my left is Chris a new member as of the day before who acquired a Celestron C5 Sct NextStar Scope recently and is now seeing the need to learn the sky and put this scope to good use! We spent a half hour at the end with his scope talking eyepieces and needed items to get him ready to enjoy it. Michelle with the white hat and scarf invited the SUG to do a astro night for her ladies Meetup Group! So we will be planning this with the help of another new SSE Sarah who joined us last week but was sick for tonight's event. I hope there's some fun food at this astro Meetup with a ladies bent!

Fred and John were very much into the program and it is now starting to make sense this sky navigation. Fred and Sidewalk were very geeky with our headlamps!

Here is Chris using the power of imagination learning the sky. Once we are oriented the rest is easy!

Hoping for clear sky this Sunday!

I also did a trial run with the new solar wedge - this is one beefy item! It is built like Fort Knox and has some weight to it though CR150 was not taxed at all with this addition on his tail end. I love the built in solar finder - see the left side of the wedge that white dot is the Sun!

The image quality is excellent and the wedge eliminates all the false color and ghosting associated with achromatic refractors using lens cell mounted filters. There was no problem seeing solar granulation, solar curvature, and the two small sunspot groups just jumped out at you. The biggest thing for me will be the ease that inexperienced observers will have looking through this as it is a picture window experience with the 2" format! Next up Tom is going to help me fashion a scope mounted sun shade so my visitors will not have to squint at the eyepiece.

SUG Solar is coming to a walkway soon!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meetup Reno Suburban Sky Explorers Update

We are kicked off and I am very excited by it all. Though my first event was weather challenged there was lots of enthusiasm and folks want to do the astronomy thing. In spite of the cold, wind and general gloominess of the day there were smiles galore and anticipation for clear skies ahead! I had 9 SSE's in attendance besides the vicarious attendance of my blog pals!

I did a general presentation on "Earth Our Moving Observation Platform" and one on telescopes. Folks seemed very glued to it all! Here's our Polar Dancing Line!

Tom and I got in a tussle as to who moves the Earth!

SSE'r Kellie is ready to go with this nice 6"Orion StarBlast scope.

And of course SUG shows his budding astronomers how to finger print your optics this way everyone knows this scope is yours!

Sidewalk Startup 2011

This past Friday started out our Sierra Foothills weekend with nice early spring like temps and blue sky to enjoy which as the Earth spins beneath us turns into dark skies to which our eyes can feast on our local universe. Day 9 Luna is looking fine in the afternoon sky and Jupiter is lurking nearby on the ecliptic road they share so I must get out to point them out!

It has been a number of weeks since my last time out so I was geared to go missing my fun sharing the sky. I have some new spots picked out to go to but not today because of time constraints I had to stay nearby at the Marina which was very busy this thaw out day! Setting up was a treat as the curious started coming by - 3-6 at a time inquiring as to what was going on. The previous day's Yahoo posting concerning the Zodiac and the wobble of the Earth was on peoples minds. This was a tremendous segway into what was before us - we do live in a changing universe and from our Earthly platform we can observe this change! So out comes the NightSky Network Zodiac poster to explain it all to a crowd of 12 and I am not at all set up yet! This is gonna be a great time out!

Of course according to Sidewalk Universe Guy's "Rules Of Effective Astro Outreach On Sidewalks Everywhere"(SUGROFAOOSE) the discussion must not end here as now they are hooked and they must enjoy what is currently at hand - a 9 day Luna Gibbous in Pisces & Jupiter in Aquarius Show. I will always make sure your one question leads you to others and why not enjoy the Zodiac right over our heads at this moment? Let's take a online news blip and make it for real.

Hector & Sylvia are busy professional people who where out enjoying this sunny afternoon and got captured by the SUG street show. They took in the full gambit this day: Zodiac, Seasonal, 2 Inch Universe presentations and detailed viewing of Luna's bending shadow line. Hector was very much at home behind the scope. Sylvia was amazed about the timing of all this - just earlier during their walk they were commenting on the Moon and the Yahoo Zodiac posting and here is the Sidewalk Guy!

Timing, a tilted wobbling Earth, and a phasing Moon are everything! 43 visitors this evening.

1/18/11 Update: Requests keep rolling in for a pic of CR150's other side so here we go! As a added feature the outreach resource table gets more and more on it all the time - just what is it that SUG does with all this stuff? Can anyone notice what is new? Where is Sidewalk Guy's snack?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 2011 SUG Solar Program And Meetup Suburban Sky Explorers

Will here we are at the cusp of a new year and already things for this outreach minded amateur astronomer are showing steady and exciting momentum!

The Meetup Reno Suburban Sky Explorers has 2o members (several couples) that want to do some observational astronomy! I seem to be attracting the type of folks I hoped would join - folks with a interest in astronomy but little experience with it. My first Meetup is this Sunday. It will be a kind of ice breaker event with some Luna and Jupiter viewing with a couple of surprises thrown in. Weather (of course) maybe a issue.

I am excited to be kicking off the Sidewalk Universe Guy's Solar Outreach also as a part of my Sidewalk Universe Program! A key component to this arrived today via a generous donation (I will tell more about this on a future posting ) which will allow me to show off Sol's total white light spectrum safely and with exquisite detail besides being very easy in a 2 inch format for most folks to look through! This Baader Planetarium Herschel Wedge is state of the art and so well thought out. It will work great on CR150 showing very detailed granulation, sunspot fiberals, plagues etc. No more front end mounted filter - just clear aperture along with a built in solar finder! Here's the wedge:

Here is what it can do - this is gonna be fun!!!!!!