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HAL NEWS Plus Star Party and Outreach Reports

March 24, 2019 Impromptu Star Party

It was a beautiful night for stargazing, at least until the 86% full moon came up just after 11 pm.  Five HAL members came out to Alpha Ridge tonight and were treated to two ISS passes including a stunning mag -3.1 pass straight overhead just after dusk.  We also had a couple of random visitors including a family who came out to see the ISS and another guy who thought he might see some Aurora (we didn't).

JoAnn Shapiro and I were the last two to leave, following on the heels of Rich Orr.  I locked up the park gates right around midnight.

Victor Sanchez


Thanks a million for opening Alpha Ridge last night. The sky really did not disappoint, and I completed several drawings before the moon rose.  I will post last night's drawings in the next few days (NGC 2539 - Open Cluster in Puppis, NGC 2506 -- Open Cluster in Monoceros, NGC 1501 -- Planetary Nebula in Camelopardus and the triple galaxies NGC 3607, 3608 and 3626 in Leo).  The Open Clusters took the longest to draw (most complex) but the others were reasonably quick.  I was pleased that I was able to see the Camel's Eye Planetary with the 110mm William Optics refractor -- a test to the clearness of last night's sky.  I will post the drawings on my Flickr site  and on my webpage:

Thanks again, Richard

March 16, 2019 Public Star Party

Our 2019 public star party season started off wildly successful. I offer a tremendous thank you to all members who brought out their telescopes and viewing binoculars as I know how much work it takes to do such a thing. I offer a very deep thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered their time with HALO and at the learning tables. Hal is so very fortunate to have wonderful and dedicated members who actively share their astro love with others.

We had just over 100 people attended this event, (I counted 103 people). There were 10 telescopes and one pair of beautiful viewing binoculars set up outside. The learning table was very busy with kids and adults actively participating there the entire time. HALO was up and running very well and was pretty much packed most of the evening.

In attendance were many families, and young people, some of whom I recognize as regular public star attendees. We had both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts join us as expected. From the Girl Scouts we had Daisy's, Brownies, Juniors and Cadette's in attendance with either their troops or with their parents. From the Boy Scouts we had two Cub Scout Packs and a group of Boy Scouts, each attending with their leaders and family members. All scouts (both girls and boys) were working on activities toward their respective astronomy merit badges. The public began arriving at 6:30 pm.

While it was a bit windy, making it feel much colder than the thermometer read, mother nature gave us clear skies. Here is a list of just some of the targets that were successfully viewed: Moon, Mars, M81 and M82, Crab Nebula, Dumbbell, Rigel and Canid Major cluster, un-named star clusters, and Astroid Juno was really put on a show for us all!

By 10:00 pm the crowd thinned out and by 10:40 they had all gone home. The party was called at 10:50 and close-up/clean-up commenced. Wayne Baguette remained for personal viewing after the event and closed HAL and the Park.

Respectfully, Cheryl Kerr, Host


Look here for 2018 event reports

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