Saturday Apr 20, 2013
CoE Star Party
James Hall & Tara Heine
Tara and I arrived just before 7pm. Grounds mostly good, some trash in the parking lot and grounds, but easily picked up. Weeds along the path are about due to be mowed, but not too bad yet. Tara setup her 10 inch Intelliscope while I checked out the observatory.
Observatory was secure and clean, equipment looked good, eye piece cases looked good. There is one chair that is pretty torn up with padding mostly exposed. It is located on the north wall that I meant to take out of the observatory, but I forgot, so I'll have to grab it next time. It's just seen better days.
Scopes working mostly well but the Harlan kept trying to float into the vertical position when I was trying to target several objects. It was almost like it had too heavy of a counter weight on it in back. I'll have to follow up with Darin if any thing has been adjusted recently.
Internet not working, but the large display and all other lights turned on and working well. I hooked up the apple TV to the iPad and started the iPad mirroring. Cars started arriving immediately so I put the 16 inch scope on the sun and the Harlan for those early bird observers.
The iPad wireless connection to the display quit working about 9:00 p.m. So I just switched to pointing at the iPad itself through the night to show off moon landing spots and current orbits of the planets.
Guest came and went in groups all night, it was hard to keep track of an actual count, but was at least 90. The moon light kept the path well lit all the way to the parking lot. Note: I like the red solar lights that someone added to the entrances. Thanks to whoever did that, I think it was a great idea.
It stayed clear of clouds all night. The seeing was poor at times but not too bad. Tara and I helped everyone viewed the Moon, Jupiter (4 moons), Saturn, Orion Nebula, Mizar, Betelgeuse, Sirus. I also gave normal sky tour of constellations AAS history, and notice about upcoming events.
Lots of boy scouts and guests asking questions and having a great time. Nice mix of children and adults. The best part of the night was when this boy saw Jupiter. His mouth dropped open and yelled "Wow!" He had the biggest smile on his face as he quickly got back into line to see it again.
Many guests noted they would return to the public star party nights. Donations in box.
Secured the observatory at 11:30 p.m. Temp in low 50's, wind gusting.
All in all a great night. I can't wait until next time. :)