Connecticut Star Party 33

By Al Washburn

While gearing up for CSP 33, “cloudy skies” were “clearly” in the forecast, as a result of the presence of Hurricane Lee looming ominously off the East Coast. Regardless, ASNH members began arriving on Friday September 15 around 11 am, to begin the roping off of the observing field, setting up directional signs and preparing the main building. At 2 pm the traditional pizza lunch arrived and all took a break. Work continued and by mid-afternoon the camp was ready as people arrived and exchanged hugs, handshakes and greetings with old friends. Dinner was served at 7pm, and later attendees began to wander off to their tents under overcast skies.

Saturday morning greeted clearing skies and an improving forecast. During breakfast, President Greg Barker informed everyone that a bear had been seen in the area. Cheryl Barker’s store was in full swing. The first talk began at 10:30 am, via zoom, with Sean Linden reporting on the latest findings from the James Webb Space Telescope. Lunch was served at noon. At 1 pm, via zoom, Kelly Korreck reported on solar research findings from the Parker Solar Probe. Finally, at 2 pm, Michael Person, in person, yikes!, spoke on using stellar occultations to study small bodies in the outer solar system. The traditional group photo was taken at 4:15 pm followed shortly after by the kids’ raffle. Finally, at 5:15 pm the adult raffle, always an exciting time, began with numerous prizes, large and small. Thanks to all our contributors!

Dinner followed at 6 pm, whereafter many hurried off to their campsites to ready their telescopes, as the darkening skies were beckoning. As observing began, in the late evening twilight, telescope silhouettes abounded when looking west to the setting Sun. Saturn was waiting, already nicely placed for observing. Darkness descended upon us all and observing began in earnest. Mid-evening brought a strange sight with the crossing overhead of a line of Starlink satellites, whose pearl-like chain of bright lights moving across the sky got everyone’s attention. Later, Jupiter’s luminous glow announced his arrival, ascending on the eastern horizon. The skies were clear at this time and the observing carried on. I called it a night at 10:30, after tracking down 22 objects, including planets, M-objects, and double stars, but many continued on into the night.

Sunday brought a beautiful sunrise, breakfast, removal of ropes and signs, cleaning up, packing up and saying goodbye to good friends for another year.

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