March 2013 Star Party and Outreach Reports
March 26 2013 HoCo Library - Savage Branch
Well, Mother Nature wasn't kind, but she wasn't evil either (she didn't rain on us!). We eventually got some gaps in the clouds, and were able to show about a dozen people the moon. In between the gaps in the clouds, we talked about our telescopes and handed out a bunch of business cards.
Thanks to Peter and Hassan for bringing out their scopes.
Thanks for being so cordial & informative. If at all possible, I will try to make the next meeting/event. What I really need to do is have you experts look at what I have and give me your opinions. See attachment: My 13 year old no power, manual mode only, 12” Meade LX 200 Classic & roll-away shed. As I told you. I am hankering to downsize to an 8 or 10” Celestron so that I can carry the scope to a farm I go to 25 miles West of Winchester, VA. Much, much better Dark Skies !
Thanks again for being at the library even though it was spotty viewing.
March 19, 2013 Central Library Outreach
There were three telescopes at the library, which worked out fine.
Here are a few pictures I took.
A huge thank you to all three of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable
astronomers who came out to Central for our Evening Under the Stars
event. As always we had a great crowd and made memories for life.
I talked to so many families who came over to the library specifically
to look through the telescopes! It was so wonderful to see so many
happy and amazed stargazers.
Peter, we cannot tell you how much we appreciate the wonderful folks
from HAL who make these evenings possible. We are so very lucky to have
you in our community. I am looking forward to our October event.
Thanks so much,
Howard County Central Library
10375 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21045
March 16, 2013 Public Cloud Party Report
Just to confirm the obvious, we were clouded out tonight. I say we but I was the only one to show up and I left at dark with not even a sucker hole to be seen. I sat there for over an hour and the park was empty the entire time except for 3 cars that came in, turned around and left. Hopefully we'll have better weather for the next one!
March 9, 2013 Member's Star Party and Messier Marathon Report
In addition to all the Messier objects being sought after last night by our marathoners, I observed four must-see sights for any stargazer looking for "something new". Highest recommendations for all.
1. Beta Monocerotis. A fantastic triple star system just to the left of Orion's Sword. In this case the words "Turn left at Orion" are most appropriate! I'd never looked at this star before last night, but I assure you I will be turning its way many times in the future. All three components looked bluish-white to me, but we all know how subjective color perception can be.
2. H3945 in Canis Major. A close double of the more famous Albireo in Cygnus, only instead of blue and yellow component stars, this one's are blue and red. Beautiful, beautiful!
3. NGC 2362 (Caldwell 64), also in Canis Major. An undeservedly overlooked open cluster, its brightest member is the magnitude 4.39 Tau Canis Majoris, a supergiant shining with the luminosity of 50,000 suns! Wikipedia says NGC 2362 is less than 5 million years old, so it's quite a baby. Although the cluster has perhaps 500 stars in all, I could only make out about 30-40 in a distinct triangular pattern in my 80mm grab-and-go refractor last night. So here's a case where aperture might really count! Don't know how Messier missed this gorgeous gem.
4. Monoceros - the whole constellation. To the naked eye, Monoceros simply doesn't exist (or at least it doesn't from light-polluted Howard County). But point a telescope in that direction, and Wow, what a Difference! Where the eye can see nothing unaided, there appears swirls, spatters and streams of uncountable stars going off in every direction imaginable. There's no need to be looking for anything specific or cataloged. Just look! Slowly scan your field of view across this unbelievable skyscape and take it all in.
I might add a fifth great sight from last night, and that's at least 20 HAL members enjoying a nearly perfect night of stargazing at Alpha Ridge.
So I was the last man standing at the Messier Marathon last night. I lost track of how many I visually observed (somewhere north of 100), but I was mainly trying to photograph them all. I only missed M55 and M30.
Read all about it and see the pictures on my blog: