March 31, 2012 Star Party Report
Even though there were heavy clouds from horizon to horizon, last night was an enormously successful star party. Five scopes were set up and the public just kept coming.
Bob and Wayne showed up early just to give me moral support - no intentions of setting up scopes at all. We had a couple of new members setting up scopes - they didn't want to miss their first star party as HAL members. Govind Rao showed up with his 16" Meade SCT on a mini-trailer behind his car. Govind showed off the scope and trailer but didn't bother to set up for cloud observation.
The big success of the evening was provided by the public. The first guests were a couple and their autistic son, Daniel, who has an avid interest in astronomy and science. It looks like the family may be taking out membership in HAL. I hope so. Daniel and his folks would be a great asset to the club.
On the heels of Daniel and his parents were a carload of Girl Scouts intent on getting Merit Badges in Astronomy. They will be back. There was also a young married couple taking an Astronomy course and looking for extra credit. They were very interested in the diffent types of scopes because their course had not addressed telescope optics and the practical aspects of observing. Also taking an astronomy course was a young girl who came with her father. The poor thing was unable to name a single thing she had learned in a half semester of her astronomy course -- you know, like, about the sky and stuff. Wayne spent a lot of time with her explaining astronomical coordinates and such like.
There were a number of people I couldn't get around to talking to and I lost track of how many public guests we had. The visitors had all left by 9:30 and we packed up to close a very successful outreach event. I expect that HAL will get some new members as a result.