Astronomy Night at NVRL

On January 18th, DFAC hosted an Astronomy Night at NVRL. We owed them a favor, and it saved me the trouble of finding a speaker for that date. Thanks to members Roger Serrato, Ron Walker, Bob Doerzbacher, and Raul Espinoza for volunteering to bring their scopes. Thanks also to the other members and spouses who showed up to provide support. Dan Heim brought 10x80 astro binocs for the Pleiades, as well as our red illuminated DFAC sign. Some 30+ people showed up, mostly parents with kids in tow. It was a good turnout, as the Library handled most of the publicity.

This first photo was by Scott Rohrer via his iPad. It's the poster NVRL set up in their lobby to direct our guests to the telescopes. Scott and his wife Dianne stayed in the lobby most of the night to help the guests navigate. You can't find the stars if you can't find the scopes. Their assistance was much appreciated.

Turned out the ambient lighting (which could not be controlled) was a bit brighter than expected. Fortunately, there were enough bright objects to keep our guests interested. Those included: Pleiades, Jupiter, Venus, Orion Nebula, and the usual Betelgeuse/Rigel star color comparison.

We were unable to locate Andromeda and the Double Cluster. Not like we didn't know where to look ... there was just too much light. And the only scope with setting circles was Roger's CAT, which had been dedicated to Jupiter for the evening. The Great Red Spot was clearly visible.

Here's another difficulty we encountered. Two of our target objects (Pleiades and Jupiter) were very near the zenith. That makes for extended (wobbly) tripods, and stiff necks.

The above photo was where the battery on my camera ran out, so I was unable to get a shot of Roger's setup. He attracted a good crowd all night with his excellent view of Jupiter. Glynn Dunbar, NVRL Education Coordinator, was extremely pleased with the event, and said he'd like to have us back this Fall. I asked him to explore the possibility of setting up in the northeast corner of the parking lot, barricading it, and getting a few of the nearby parking lot lights turned off. He is looking into that. We now have a tentative date set for that event: Thursday, October 18th.