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Members Only Impromptu 3/8/2020

3 members brought out their telescopes to join me with my cameras under March's lovely Worm Moon (which was a super moon, as well).

We started set-up at 5:45PM, observed the moon rising around 6PM under smoky skies from a managed fire in Virginia.  The smoke cleared as darkness arrived and, with bright skies we were able to see a number of great targets.  

With the moon rising higher in the sky we closed the park and locked the gates a 11PM.

Cheryl Kerr


Members Only Impromptu 3/7/2020

We had a nice , although somewhat short, night of observing at Alpha Ridge Park on Saturday night.  Thorne Ransom, Bob Prokop and I set up under very transparent skies and a nearly-full moon with cold, but not terribly cold, temperatures.  The moon was nice to look at with Bob's scope, and Bob checked out a new eyepiece.  Thorne did some imaging, and I fought my computer.  We closed up by about 10pm mainly due to the bright moon and my misbehaving computer.

The highlight of the evening for Thorne and myself (I'll presume to speak for Thorne here, but he is free to disagree) was sighting Venus well before sunset.  I first spotted the planet at 5:33pm, a full 34 minutes before sunset, while still wearing sunglasses.  Thorne arrived a few minutes later and he was able to see Venus, too.  The hard part of seeing Venus in bright skies is getting a good focus with your eyes -- it really helped when high-flying airplanes passed near the planet since they gave your eyes something to focus on.

Bob found a very pretty crater with a central peak right on the terminator of the moon.  Gotta hand it to him: the moon can be a nice object to observe, and the much-neglected "left side" of it does contain some interesting features.

We also had two non-members show up for a while.  They had stopped by Company 7 in Laurel to look at binoculars, and Marty shared with them about HAL and gave them a brochure and a business card.  They stayed around for a while until they got cold (lesson learned!) and departed.

Wayne Baggett, host


Members Only Impromptu 2/22/2020

No Report from Alpha Ridge Park

Chris Miskiewicz, host


Members Only Impromptu 2/21/2020

No Report from Alpha Ridge Park

Chris Miskiewicz, host


Members Only Impromptu 1/12/2020

Short, but sweet. 11 cars showed up, and at least two of those had more than one passenger, so there a minimum of 13 people out at Carrs Mill tonight.

Conditions were far from perfect, but they promised to be the best for the foreseeable future. Spectacular sunset (which of course meant clouds), but Venus was beyond beautiful.

As it grew darker, the Winter Milky Way was out in all its glory. I myself stuck to old warhorses (the Pleiades, the Hyades, M35, 36, 37 and 38, the Crab Nebula, and the Great Nebula in Orion). Richard Orr found a comet in Perseus, and there was a lot of testing of new equipment going on. I stupidly left my star charts for finding Uranus at home, so I never even tried to observe it.

By 7 PM, the clouds started rolling in, and the sky was pretty much overcast even before moonrise at 7:20. But it was certainly worth getting out this evening! I don't know when we'll get another chance like this.

Bob (Prokop)


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