JanFebMar2018

Recent ASHN Activities

By Donna Pursley

Public Observing at Silver Sands State Park
Friday October 20, 2017

The forecast was for a clear sky tonight, and we had just that. We had close to a dozen scopes and binos set up. There was a huge crowd and there were lines for the biggest scopes. It looked clear, but there was a haze that kept us from finding the deep sky objects. But Saturn was visible in the early evening, and later a scope or two were aimed at Uranus. There were a few new people with scopes who had never been to a public event before. We seem to be getting more people that ask really good questions.

Dave Noble set up a camera to record the activity of this evening under the stars. A few of his pictures are on the next page.

Public Observing at Young’s Pond Park
Saturday October 21, 2017

Again, the forecast was for a clear sky. It was too much to ask for two clear nights in a row. We had about 50% clouds and 50% clear sky. There were a ton of scopes and binos. The evening got off to a spark when a bright meteor appeared overhead and about half of the group saw it, with many oohs and aahs. Again, we had some long lines at the big scopes.  There were also some new people here trying out their scopes. We were able to look at many different deep-sky objects.  We also saw all three planets that were up that evening, Saturn, Uranus, and even the tiny green ball of Neptune. The dew was heavy that evening, and everything was so wet when we packed up. All in all, it was a good weekend at both locations.

Observing at Lake Gaillard, North Branford
Friday November 10, 2017

The Regional Water Authority of New Haven had a star gazing event at Lake on this Friday evening. It was a cold and windy day. It was a VERY cold and VERY windy day. When we left home it was 24 degrees with very gusty winds. Despite the cold, we had many members show up. We all waited to set up until we saw some people coming to look through the scopes. Then we set up 4 or 5 scopes. The 10” Dobs were able to find many objects, but shook every time the wind gusted. My 6” didn’t seem to have the shake problem probably because of less surface area to the wind. There wasn’t a huge crowd, but we had about 7 people show up. They must have been very interested to brave this cold. By 8:30 everyone had left and we packed up, went home and had some hot chocolate. This was a good practice for a cold Messier Marathon to see how our outwear holds up to the cold.

Public Observing at Silver Sands State Park
Friday November 17, 2017

This turned out to be our last event public star gazing event for 2017.  Again, it was a very cold night.

I could not believe the number of people that come out for the first time on a night like this. The sky was very clear and the people that came out were not disappointed. As seems to happen more often at our observing events, one family brought a telescope that they bought but did not know how to use.  This time Leo Taylor and Mike Zarick spent quite a bit of time working with them and showing them how to use it. Before they were done, they had observed a few objects with their scope. We encourage people to bring their scopes if they need to learn how to use them, and this is a good way to get some help.

The event did end earlier than usual because of the cold. I think we were mostly packed up by 9:30.

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