HAL NEWS Plus Star Party and Outreach Reports
Members Star Party June 24, 2017
Last night's member's only gathering had good attendance of about 12
cars, a sign of recent photon deprivation. Transparency was not bad,
but the sky was never very dark, with patchy clouds that increased,
forcing shutdown around midnight. Seeing was average or worse, with
Jupiter appearing washed out (bands but not festoons) and the
usually easy Cassini division of Saturn iffy. Well, dewing was
minimal and bugs not intrusive. These less than ideal conditions
still permitted decent views of brighter DSOs such as M57, M81/82,
M51. For several, a shakedown outing for new gear, including a new
Meade 14" SCT! With indifferent skies, I brought only my two-bag
grab and go set up, a 105mm apo on alt/az head (DM-4) and carbon fiber tripod.
Public Star Party June 3, 2017
Thank you to everyone who came out and made last night's star party such a big success! I counted at least 25 telescopes set up (not counting the Watson or the HAL Meade 16"). It was great to see so many old friends again and to meet some new members. At least 50 cars arrived during the evening, and while I quickly lost count of the number of visitors it had to be well over 100.
The sky was decently clear at sunset and it got even clearer as the night went on. Seeing was not great, but the temperature was pleasant and the humidity was low, and I at least wasn't bothered by bugs which is not typical for Alpha Ridge in June. We saw great views of the Moon and Jupiter. We saw Io's and Ganymede's shadows cross the face of the Jupiter and we saw Io re-emerge from crossing the face of the planet. We also saw the Sun rising over the floor of Copernicus crater on the Moon, which was very dramatic. Overall, it was a wonderful evening.
Our next event is a Members Star Party on June 24. Bob Provine will be hosting.
Photos Compliments of David Stein & Chas Rimpo
May 20, 2017 - Members Star Party (Note: Still 100% clouded out this year)
Saturday's Members Only event was cloudy, with four members present, me as
host, one other, and two working on the Watson. Well, at least it was not
raining and it provided a welcome chance to talk about astronomy and
May 6, 2017 - Public Star Party
(Last night's star party was a ....) Huge success! After a cloudy, rainy start, skies cleared around 9:00. Even thought there was early rain and temperatures were in the low 50's we had about 50 people attending. We were all pleased with the quality of the questions asked by the visitors.
The evening started with the dedication of the Solar System Walk at 7:30. John Bird (Dirctor of HoCo Rec & Parks), Joel Goodman, and Colin Waddington Brinster (who spearheaded the project) spoke briefly about the Solar System Walk project.
Before the clouds cleared, Wayne Baggett gave a slide and video presentation about the JWST. I (Bob Savoy) set up the Solar System scale models and talked about them.
After the sky cleared, a little after 9:00, CTO Wayne and CTA Ken Everhart opened the dome and focused the Watson on the Moon. Meanwhile, Paul Montanaro powered up the Meade and entertained the crowd with views of the Moon and Jupiter. Toward the end of the evening, Joel used the Meade for some visitors.
We closed up at a little after 11:00, pleased with the success of the dedication and the Star Party.
April 22, 2017 - Members Star Party
Well it was cloudy tonight and the rain ended so viewing didn't happen. Besides everyone had enough of this weather to stay home. Hope May has better weather.
April 8, 2017 - Public Star Party
The clouds cleared out for our star party and came back right at the end. We had 9 different member telescopes setup outside as well as the HALO equipment, all sharing views of the Moon, the Orion Nebula, and Jupiter among other targets. We had about 40 people show up to share views and a few even brought their own binoculars. Thank you everyone who came out last night.
I had a great time running the 16” Meade at Saturday’s star party. However the moon was almost full and it washed out many of the deep sky objects. I would rather have a thin crescent moon than one that is almost full at star parties. I think this makes for better moon viewing as well. ...
March 25, 2017 - First HAL Members Star Party of the Year and 1st Cloud Out
At last night's clouded out Member's Only Star Party we had a total of 4 attendees (3 plus me). No rain, but cloudy and not even sucker holes. Well, the spring peepers were in full voice, a positive sign.
Ed. Note: Actually two of the other three "attendees" were the evening's CTO and CTA so there was really only one member attendee.
March 4, 2017 - First (and Coldest) HAL Public Star Party of the Year
The night started cold and windy but the skies were clear so nothing was going to stop a great night for a star party. We had 14 different member's telescopes setup outside of the observatory working with the Watson Telescope to provide views.
We started off with Venus and the Moon which was having an occultation-fest that night. Early in the evening we watched the moon poke out stars from the Hyades star cluster, as if it was practicing for its main event against Aldebaran. As the night progressed, we viewed more planets, the Orion Nebula, and Messier 81 & 82, to name a few. The cold temperatures tried to make it an early night but we held strong to watch the beginning of the Aldebaran's occultation before packing up and heading home.
We had 70 visitors by the end of the night some arriving right up to 11 PM. Thank you to everyone for coming out and helping to make it a great evening. Clear skies!
March 3, 2017 - Robinson Nature Center Outreach
Wayne Baggett and I had our telescopes up at the Robinson Nature Center this evening from 6:00 to 8:00 and showed views of the crescent Venus and nearly 1/4 Moon to visitors. The sky was mostly clear when people were coming in for the 6:30 planetarium show and then after the show, at 7:30. I had to go inside to do the 8:00 show, so Wayne and Katie Peet (RNC staff member) handled the viewing. 43 people attended the 6:30 show and 27 attended the 8:00 show, and most of them looked through the telescopes. Many adults, and all the kids, had never seen a crescent Venus, so it was an excellent opportunity to do a little teaching. The wind died down and it was cold, but it was fun.