Reports on Family Astronomy Night at
Hammonasset Beach State Park

August 27, 2022

By Donna Pursley

This event was well publicized through the Meigs Point Nature Center. As people arrived that evening, they were treated to a display of some of the ASNH meteorite collection, which Al Washburn had set up on a table near the telescopes. Children and adults alike were excited to see and hold these rocks from outer space.

Everyone waited in anticipation for Saturn to become visible. As soon as it was, people formed long lines at the larger scopes to get the best view. As it became dark there was a large cloud moving in. We were able to find a few things in the sucker holes while the cloud moved from West to East. Eventually the cloud won out and it did a victory dance by starting to rain on us. The crowd left quickly and we packed up. Soon after the rain let up.

Those of us who stuck around were rewarded by a fireworks show just over the tree line. It lasted a good long time and when it was over, we looked up to a clear sky. It never fails.

Even though it was mostly cloudy, mostly everyone was able to see Saturn through a large scope. Thanks to everyone who participated in showing the 150 mostly well-mannered and inquisitive people who attended a few objects in the night sky.

By Al Washburn

On Saturday, August 27, 2022 the ASNH carried out a viewing session at Hammonasset State Park, Meigs Point Nature Center. The event was requested by the Friends of Hammonasset, by way of ASNH members Jim Mazur and Laurie Averill. I arrived at 7 pm to start setting up my equipment. Greg and Cheryl Barker and Ray Kaville had already arrived. The skies to the east were promising as that is where Saturn was soon to rise. Fellow members Mike Zarick and Donna Pursley, Andy Buynak, Don Straka, and Jim and Laurie arrived soon afterward. With all this activity people began to wander over to the nature center area as the telescopes began to be set up … i.e. Greg and Cheryl’s 18” and 10” dobs, Ray’s 150mm refractor, my Orion 6” dob, and Don’s 6″ Celestron. Mike and Donna brought a 6” dob while Jim had a 13.1” dob and both Laurie and Andy set up 10” dobs.

As the scheduled starting time arrived the skies became overcast with nothing to see. There were “Lets go Stargazing” handouts for all to take as well as 3 iron meteorites for people to learn about and hold: Canyon Diablo, Sikote-Alin and Henbury. This helped to keep interest in the session going while we all hoped Saturn would soon break through the clouds. Finally, Arcturus could be seen through the haze and all telescopes were trained on it. Conversation and discussion of red supergiants could be heard all around. After a while Saturn finally played peek-a-boo with all of us and attendees got a chance to see the 6th planet from the Sun! Antares made an appearance through the haze with a hint of Sagittarius and Scorpius that were then outlined with a green laser pointer. Shortly before 9 pm the skies closed over again and a sprinkle could be felt in the air, where upon the telescopes were closed up for the evening. People began to leave and it was noted that once all the telescopes were safely stored away … Ursa Major began to shine nicely to the north! Figures! ! ! !

This entry was posted in 2022. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.