Fall 2022 Public Outreach Events, continued:
Silver Sands Public Star Gazing, November 4
This was our last time at Silver Sands for the year and what a turnout! There must have been 60 people who showed up to look through the scopes. Some were people that have been here before but there were many new faces. There were lots of families with young children that really enjoyed looking at the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. The Moon was very bright but we were able to show people many deep sky objects, along with Uranus. Having others enjoy what they see through your scope is one of the pleasures of astronomy. It is fun to share facts about the Moon, planets and other deep sky objects. I think some people stayed all evening. We were just able to pack up and leave by our 10 pm deadline.
Young’s Park Public Star Gazing, November 5
This was also our last time at Young’s Park for the year. The clouds were on/off just before the event but we had mostly clear skies until around 9 pm. We had a good turnout for the night. People are amazed about how much detail they can see on the Moon. They also love seeing Jupiter and Saturn in the larger scopes. It is great that they are able to see the moons and the rings of Saturn. Some people had an interest in astronomy at a younger age and were very eager about learning more. It seems that people are making an event of our star gazing by having a dinner or get together and then star gazing afterwards. It is nice to be part of people’s weekend plans.
Friends of Hammonasset Family Astronomy Night, November 12
By Donna Pursley
Wow. We have not had a turnout like this for such a long time. Ranger Russ Miller’s staff helped with the parking, and that helped to keep most of the bright headlights away from the observing area. They counted over 200 cars, and there were probably 300 to 400 people who attended. There were 7 scopes set up and each had a line 10-20 deep.
Some of the main targets for the evening were Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, the Andromeda Galaxy, the E.T. Cluster, and the Pleiades. The clouds were a problem as they kept blocking what we wanted to see. Every time I put the scope on an object, I was able to show about a few dozen people and then the clouds would block it. I was able to show the Moon as it was just coming up. It had treetops and clouds going through and it was very orange so it made for a nice “spooky” Moon. The clouds finally won out and we were about to call it quits when a few holes started opening up in the west and the last remaining visitors were able to continue viewing.
By Al Washburn
Members of the ASNH carried out their final viewing session of the year for the Friends of Hammonasset State Park on the evening of November 12th, at the Meig’s Point Nature Center. Members present were Greg and Cheryl Barker, myself, Ray Kaville, Jim Mazur, Andy and Shelly Buynak, Mike Zarick and Donna Pursley.
Viewing began at 7 pm with promising skies. Throughout the evening many objects could be seen, including Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and the Moon. People also saw M31 and satellite galaxies, M57, the Pleiades cluster (M45), and NGC 457 (the E.T. Cluster)! Many other objects were also seen through the 7 total telescopes there! As clouds moved in, a selection of 3 meteorites were shown and handled by the attendees there. Several informational handouts were given out. By around 9 pm things slowed down as the skies clouded over and people began to go home. Estimates were that between 300 to 400 people may have been there. A good time was had by all.