The past Thursday we had a very fine Ganymede shadow transit to see in the early evening. I have found in my experience that the public could easily see these events with moderate skies and some coaching at the scope. Besides they turn into excellent educational experiences for those who want to broaden their knowledge and experience base.
So with good sky I head out to the Sparks Marina for a few hours of outreach fun.
Upon my arrival there is a lady stretching out next to her car as I am backing in my space. A look of curiosity is on her face as I park. Is it the inflatable Earth's and gear in my back seat or am I parking to close for comfort? Well as it turns out my reputation has reached her ear and she asks "Are you the astronomy guy I heard so much about?" "Why yes I am and at your service" was my quick reply!
"I want to learn about the moon!" was Debbie's first & fast request. "But when?"
"Well how about now. Let's get familiar with Luna's phase cycle as I just so happen to have my mini moon stryo balls in the planet scale kit!" By the way I have not even unloaded and set up yet as I must catch this opportunity of astro interest!
And off we go. My new pupil is indeed a eager learner. Here she is modeling the new moon placing the mini moon ball between her and the Sun. After 10 minutes or so she has the Moon Cycle down! Now she will have to be a observer and see it for real which she is ready to do. After an exchange of phone numbers she is off to round up some friends for the fast approaching Jupiter show as this is a moon event to be enjoyed with others!
Vicky at the scope was totally impressed with this 3D Jove Treasure Trove of Mooness taking place before her eyes! For there is a shadow amok on the cloud tops of Jupiter! These ladies braved the sudden chill of early February with such cheer. Debbie's excitement opened a wonderful experience to her pals.
Not to be left out in the cold Caleb got a eye full too. Doing laps with his mom on his bike he had to be a part of this moonfest! He was one serious observer nailing the transit, moons, belts, and swirls in the belts, polar hoods of Jupiter! Hey he looks like a amateur astronomer already! Mom was totally impressed and never realized her son liked this astronomy stuff!
But there was more fun to be had with our one day past full "waning more moon"on the rise over our eastern foothills! Perfect timing for my new lunar addict to get subjected to the SUG JUMBO MOON ILLUSION EMERSON ! OMG timing is everything and this moonrise was awesome with a jumbo maze colored orb kissing our foothills; and I just happened to have the cardboard tube to help dispelled the illusion which left Debbie & friends aghast!
What a evening it was. My people count was low but meeting Debbie & friends along with Caleb made this outing a success.
Why is Debbie so interested in learning about Luna? Well her budding passion is to photograph Luna every month along our foothills and mountains. This night helped to set the stage for this endeavor in the mind and heart!
Thanks Debbie for letting me be a part of your new passion!