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HAL 2014 Star Party and Outreach Reports

HAL Members Star Party - July 26, 2014

We made a night out of the clouds and partially clear skies to observe and catch up as a group. The night started off with a band of clouds coming in from the west as equipment was setup.  We discuss various types of equipment including the difference between a Rigel and Telrad finder thanks to Phil and Steve's side by side equipment.  Garry was in full support mode as he help some newer memebers witht their equipment as Mike took a practice run setting up his equipment in the dark. We also discussed the issues of green laser pointers and discovered how much of a nuisance and danger they can be when the light scatters off of metallic objects.

As the sun set finished, we identified stars and planets when they came into view either as the darkness set in or the clouds moved out of the way. Then came the challenge of the evening, Chris setup his 18" Dob in less than 8 minutes and was sharing views of Saturn which look good dispite the lack of collimating his optics, there is a reason he is our president! Wayne and I did setup an 8 inch Dob in less than a minute but we had no one to confim that accomplishment and it did only take 2 steps but it was less than a minute in the dark! 

We continued on observing and talking until the clouds set in and everyone was packing up by 10:30. Thanks for another great night under the stars and clouds.

Chris Miskiewicz

HAL Public Star Party - July 19, 2014

Dear Mother Nature,

Thank you for ruining yet another of our star parties. I was optimistic we would get a break in the clouds, but no, you had to crush my optimism yet again. You are now raining on me, so I'll finally get the hint and go home. Please be kinder to us next week?

Sincere regards,
Chris Todd

HAL Members Star Party - June 21, 2014

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately, yesterday’s star party was a total bust.  The skies were completely clouded over, and when I arrived at AR about 8 PM I was the only person there, except for two ladies walking their dogs, and they left shortly thereafter.  I hung around alone until about 9:15 when the parks lady came to lock the gate, and I left with her.  Hopefully we’ll have better luck next time.

Clear skies,
Steve J  

HAL Public Star Party - June 7, 2014

Hello everyone,

What a great star party last night!  I counted 20 telescopes and about 70 participants.  Except for a few clouds that developed to the West and dissipated quickly, the skies were clear above Alpha Ridge, and everyone was treated to wonderful views of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and a number of deep sky objects.  Especially satisfying was hearing the “WOW!” when a first time visitor saw the moon or Saturn through an eyepiece.  Everyone had a good time, and every visitor I talked to was very grateful for the friendliness and willingness of HAL members to share their knowledge and equipment.  Most people left around midnight but a few diehards stayed until 1AM.  Many thanks to all who were able to attend. 

Clear skies,
Steve J

HAL Members Star Party - May 24, 2014

Well, we had a nice evening going at sunset and then the clouds rolled in.  There were about ten of us there, and it was great to meet some new HAL members.  We did get quick looks at Jupiter, Mars and Saturn before it became totally overcast, and we left around 10:30.

Clear skies,

HAL Members Star Party - April 26, 2014

Started to rain, and everyone (about 6-8 people) went home. Garry and I hung around for maybe 15 minutes more to see whether anyone else would show up, or maybe the clouds would blow over, then we left too.

Bob Prokop

Footnote: Area skies cleared nicely about 9:30PM but by then it was too late.

Scope Out the NIght Sky 3/8/14

A super night at the Robinson Nature Center!!  "Scope Out the Night Sky", the joint program with the MD Science Center, was a huge success.  About 130 guests enjoyed views of Jupiter, the Moon, and the Pleiades.  Each family built and took home a Galileoscope and saw a planetarium show.  The meteorites were also a big hit.  Thank you to Phil Whitebloom for his time and kick-ass refractor.  Lava tubes were very cool, Phil.

Several MD Science Center staff also came with a number of nice scopes.  One guy remembered seeing Paul Watson (of telescope fame) give planetarium shows in Baltimore when he was kid.

This program will be repeated on Saturday, April 5th.

Joel Goodman

Library Outreach Report 3/5/2014

We had a great time at last night's library event.  James Stuby and I brought out small Orion Maks and Chris Todd brought a 10" Orion Dob and we showed the Moon and Jupiter to about 50 people, both adults and children.  It was very cold, but it was heartwarming to hear the 'ooh's and 'wow's as they looked through the eyepiece.  I enjoyed peeking at the Moon during the evening myself, and I got to glimpse the GRS through Chris's scope before we packed it in.

Our first public star party is coming up on March 22, and we'll be having another library visit in October, so our outreach season is just starting for the year.  I hope many of you will have the chance to participate in some of these events, and experience the joy once again of seeing some of the wider universe that we live in for the first time.

Clear skies,
David Stein
HAL Events Coordinator

Dear David and All,

Thank you so much to the three stalwart warriors who came out to share their telescopes with our excited library families last Wednesday night.  You all are champions. 

It was so amazing to watch family after family gather around the telescope and turn away amazed at what they had seen.

You all are so wonderful to share your time, your telescopes and your wisdom.  I saw one mom hurry out of the library and rush back having gone home to get her two little girls in pink jackets so they could have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our moon and Jupiter.

It was a joy as always to work with you and I look forward to seeing you all again in October.

Many thanks,
Barb Langridge
Children's Services
Howard County Central Library

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