HAL NEWS Plus Star Party and Outreach Reports
June 18, 2019 Public Star Party
James Stack – Host
Chas Rimpo – CTO
Cheryl Kerr – CTX
Bob Savoy – Solar System Display Guru
I arrived an hour before sunset thinking I’d be the first one there only to find that the place was already a beehive of activity. Joel was giving a group of Brownies/Girl Scouts an observatory tour followed by taking them on the Solar System walk. Victor was there with an HCR&P representative taking Drone photos of the observatory. Bob Savoy had already set up his solar display. James and Cheryl were also already there.
Cloud cover was the predicted 85+% so we stuck with pointing the scope at the Moon. It was occasionally visible in full glory, but most often looked like a perfect “Halloween” Moon with lots of clouds partially obscuring the view. We did have one extended period where the Moon was invisible. During this time, we showed several of the new NASA videos that David Stein dropped off earlier last week.
I would have guessed that there were about 60 attendees, but Bob Savoy thought there were in excess of 100. In either case it was a great turn out for yet another cloudy night at HALO.
Naturally when Cheryl and I locked up at 10:30 it was clear to the east and Jupiter was up high enough that it would have been just visible in the scope!
June 1, 2019 Member's Star Party
We had a successful member's star party last night, though the clouds did move in by 10pm or so. We had seven telescopes set up, by my count, and we had some testing occur on the HALO system. As Phil noted in his last message, we had a special treat for us as well. Aditya Ram gave us a wonderful presentation on his Space Radiation research project focusing on gamma radiation bursts from supernovae and the effects on human spaceflight. Phil gave him an open invite to return to HAL for follow-up progress on his research. We shut down and closed the Alpha Ridge gates just after 11pm, but overall a very good night for all.
Clear Skies (which lately seems like wishful thinking than an astronomer's salutation)
May 18, 2019 Impromptu Star Party
We had a very nice impromptu star party on Saturday night. Around 8:30 PM a big thunderstorm came overhead and drenched us for about 45 minutes, but after that the sky cleared up and it became a mostly clear and pleasantly cool evening. Some members observed outside. I was inside the observatory doing operator training, we were able to view such objects as the (very full and bright) Moon, the Ring Nebula, the Great Hercules Globular Cluster and Jupiter. We locked up the observatory and park and left about 1:00 AM
May 11, 2019 Public Star Party
Well, as expected, tonight was a total cloud and rain out. 3 HAL members and 6 guests (4 adults and 2 children) showed up. We opened the observatory and discussed mostly minor solar system bodies (asteroids, moons, Kuiper Belt objects, etc.) for the evening. David Stein brought along a fine collection of NASA videos for education and entertainment.. Closed up at approx 9:15 or so. Despite the weather, I do believe that a good time was had by all!
May 4, 2019 Member's Star Party
Well, I fulfilled my hostly duties by hanging around Alpha Ridge Park for about an hour or so. No one else showed up, and prospects for any break in the clouds turned to zero. In fact, it's predicted to start raining within an hour or two.
Better luck next time!
April 13, 2019 Public Star Party
Well the clouds did not clear as promised but we had a number of families and HAL members stop by to share the evening with us. HALO presented videos and images and outside Bob Savoy pulled double duty with a table setup showing a model of the solar system. I was able to share views of the moon peaking through the clouds, the asteroid belt, and Saturn courtesy of the solar system walk.
It was a fun night with about 40 people visiting. Clear skies ahead!
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.
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonflyhunter/ and on my webpage: www.orrastrodrawing.com
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.
Look here for 2018 event reports