This is a reminder to HAA members that the Cosmology Discussion Group will be meeting tomorrow (Saturday) night. All HAA members are welcome, but as there is limited space available please contact me if you are interested in attending. This is very important as we were near our maximum capacity last time. If you attended previously, then there is no need to contact me, and I hope to see you there.
The main speaker at the upcoming April meeting of the HAA, Alan Friedman, is being featured on today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA's site is always informative, and Alan's spectacular image is certainly worth lingering over. Be sure to check out the APOD site, and be sure to attend the April meeting to see Alan in person. It's sure to be an excellent presentation!
Follow this link to Alan's APOD:
I arrived there about 6:50 PM and proceeded to set up the GWS for the inspection of the attendees. It was very cloudy and i was assured that they would not clear.
Ann set up a Dob as an additional scope. I also set up the Big Binoculars, and pointed them at a nearby Cell Tower.
Megan Fox (travelling incognito) arrived and posed with me for a photo-op, as my car transformed into a telescope:
Reporters from Rogers Cable and some local newspapers also conducted interviews with me and with our presenters. As usual, Don was also a great spokesman for the club.
The talks went well and I sniped some photos of the proceedings, while keeping one eye on the GWS and the other on the clouds.
At about 9:20 PM, the clouds started to clear. Alas, many of our number had already headed home.
I got this photo of the Moon afocally through the eyepiece:
ADDITION from John Gauvreau:
Well, I think it is also important to mention that besides Steve, there were at least 17 other members of the HAA that turned out to this event. Tim did a great presentation and represented the club well to his hometown, and many others brought scopes in case it cleared up. The efforts of so many members willing to travel out of town on a cloudy night demonstrates clearly that this is an active and dynamic club that works so well because everyone is willing to contribute towards a team effort. The club was so well represented, in fact, that we (sadly) outnumbered the public.
The club owes a big thank you to everyone who travelled all the way to Brantford to help out with this public event. Please forgive me if I don't remember everyone, but here goes:
Alex, Ann, Bill, Bob, Don, Ed, Kevin, Ed, Jim, Joe, Les, Linda, Wayne, Mario, Marcel and Tim. I enjoyed seeing all of you there!
There's a really nice picture of the sun by Alan Friedman on the SpaceWeather web site. Alan will be the main speaker at the April HAA meeting. Be sure to see his picture, and his talk!
Tonight Jim and I were delighted to accept an invitation from Les to come visit his roll-off observatory. Overlooking the Grand River, the shed offers dark skies and a welcome shelter to observe from.
Setting up his very fine 4" refractor, Les showed us the Orion Nebula through a variety of eyepieces, with some pleasing and surprising results. It's amazing how well the inexpensive eyepieces compared to the premium oculars! We continued our tour of the sky with some winter highlights, like the Pleiades, the double cluster and M35, as well as views of Mars with its polar cap and Saturn and its moons Titan, Rhea, Dione and Tethys. Algieba in Leo and Polaris provided some fine double star targets. Algieba showed a bright yellow primary with a more rusty companion star. Through a no-name eyepiece the colours seemed more pronounced than through a Pentax. The ISS also went right overhead to make the evening complete.
Les and his wife fed us with a great assortment of meats and vegetables (and some deliscious strawberries) to keep our strength up. Both Jim and I were very impressed with the clever and ingenious way Les has put together and runs his backyard observatory, and we were delighted to take advantage of his hospitality and dark skies. Thanks, Les!
Jim and Les inside the observatory.
The stars rise over the observatory.
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