Saturday, January 7, 2012
2012 StarBucks Coffee & Cosmos PatioAstro
This winter season sure is a mild one for us western USA types. With temps in the 50/60's and fairly clear conditions I have no reason to not get the 2012 outreach season going! So here are two events I have done so far......
January 4-5 marked Perihelion as the Earth reached it's closest approach to the Sun and is a outreach I like to do if weather and time permit. Awesome day was to be had at the Sparks Marina with 38 visitors. Dave, a former Army Recon Scout (Desert Storm & Panama!) really enjoyed the Sol show and the hands on modeling of this program. He also made detailed Sunspot observes and caught the sudden brightening of a isolated faculae on the S.E edge! Timing is everything!
The double shadow transit of Jupiter's moons Io and Ganymede the following evening made for some fun driveway observing. Moderate winter temps and hazy sky greeted us but we had no trouble watching the event unfold. Tom joined me for this shadow dance and his observing eye is developing quickly.
2012 also brings Coffee & Cosmos to local area StarBucks and this Friday evening was as good as any to give it a go. I have been wanting to do outreach at this particular one because it faces due east with a reasonable view from the N.E to S.E. Not having any contacts within the store I was not sure how I would be received so I was a little nervous just walking in, ordering a drink and "oh I'm the Sidewalk Universe Guy mind if I set up on your patio to share the cosmos?"
I was just gonna set up and see what happens but thought the better of it so in I go to ask this very unique request. Well things went my way as the shift manager knew me from my outreaches at the Marina Park!!! and soon I was off and running! Liane loves coffee and had fun hanging out with the SUG. A busy professional wedding planner she needed a break from the day and got treated to the Jove up in our sky. She was very encouraging and liked this outreach stuff.
I had a line most of the 3 hours out with customers from the nearby eateries coming over to check things out. Most were excited to look at Jupiter with the Galilean Moons on full display.
I had so many nice folks stop, look, talk and generally appreciate the experience. But this young lady made my night. Coming in and out of the Panda Express next door several times over she got a eye full of the evenings servings. She had a very defined "Lunar Bliss" moment observing sunrise on the Grimaldi Crater Complex! I was amazed at her interest level and zeal at the scope!
Coming soon will be a StarBucks SUG Solar on this very patio!