The software that I use for making my illustrations in the EH and at the meetings, and the software that I demonstrated at the most recent meeting is called Stellarium. It is a free, open source piece of software. Try it out yourself, and enjoy!
I stepped out this morning before the sun came up (seriously, what was I thinking?) and there was the moon. I took a few shots, just handheld with my 70-200mm zoom lens, and cropped the best one.
Well, you can plan for lots of things and control many events around you, but darn it - weather isn't one of them.
The skies ended up being clearer for most of the day than had been forecast. I was hopeful it would last into the evening for our Public Stargazing Event at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington. However a last minute check of the Clear Sky Chart before leaving home indicated it was going to be cloudy, but only for 3 hours - exactly during the time of our event. And wouldn't you know it, it was exactly right.
I arrived early to try and get a decent parking spot since it's often a busy location. On arrival, the skies were still clear. But on schedule, it started to cloud over just before 8. Undeterred, Bernie and I set up our scopes, followed a little later by Alec. We saw tantalizing glimpses of the Moon through some very temporary thinning, but nothing persistent. Other HAA members eventually joined us: David and Tanya, Steve, Ann, Mike - but wisely they didn't bother with their scopes. Even with our small set up, we still drew about 20 curious people over to inquire about our activities and ask about astronomy. One family had come from as far as Pickering. Lots of good questions and information flowed, but sadly no eye-candy for our visitors.
By 10 the park was very quiet and it didn't look like the sky was going to improve so we packed up early. While chatting about a coffee location, sure enough, it started to clear. And by 10:30 as we were pulling away, the skies completely opened up. Oh well, sometimes you just can't win. But at least it was a fun night and those who did visit found it worthwhile.
The HAA hosted a public stargazing night at T.B. McQuesten park in Hamilton on Sat 28 Jul 2012. We had great weather and clear skies to welcome a large crowd of interested and enthusiastic visitors. I didn't take a count, but it looked like we had between 200 and 300 people in attendance which would have made it our most successful night at this location.
More than 20 telescopes were set up for the large crowd to enjoy. Views of the Moon and Saturn were the primary views, but some other fainter objects were also shown even with the city lights all around us. Many of the scopes were from non-members who wanted to join in on the fun and some who sought help on using their scope. We even had one family who had just purchased a nice 6" SCT and it was seeing first light that night.
Jim had a table set up for people to see meteorites and get more info about the club. Alex and some of her friends were running around talking up the event to park patrons.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the event and those who attended. It appears everyone had a great time and we introduced the excitement of astronomy to a bunch of new people.
I just got home from an evening of observing at BCA. Don and I were there, as well as 2 guests who came with me in my .... 2001 .... van which now holds the Great White Scope and accessories.
I spent the afternoon designing and building a rack to put everything in neatly, as, not being a volkswagen,
things are otherwise not snug-fitting.
I watched the movie 'The Lorax' which was played on a huge inflatable screen with rear-projection. The sound system was remarkably good, as was the klondike i bought at intermission.
The evening had started out cloudy but then cleared to the north. Patchy clear skies in the south allowed me to see Saturn for a while (properly termed a sucker-hole) before i set up the GWS.
I did set up, and Don had a refractor. Alas, they played the credits of the movie before they announced the observing, and by then all had left except Don, Me and my 2 guests.
We still had a chance to discuss the night sky and the wonders of the human eye, while waiting for the southern sky to clear. We saw Arcturus and Alberio and many nearby stars, and discussed precession and stellar magnitudes and ways to find the north star, and planned to come again.
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