Astronomy Outreach Today at a Library

So, as normal this time of year, it was cloudy.  It’s New England, and we get lots of clouds.  The weather guessers suggested that we’d have at worst 30% cloud cover today.  Sadly for the kiddos, we had like 80% to 95% for the few hours we were out.  The good news is that I got to show some of the kids Mars which is still quite bright and visible.   I brought out my large scope, and it was fun for the kids to look at it.  It’s a big scope.

If you want a review, just let me know.  I am happy to share it with you.  I love talking about my toys.  Who doesn’t? I bought a few key accessories for it, and I do recommend them. It makes travel and storage safer and easier.

The fact is that after an hour drive, and about 15 minutes of setup, I was only able to show the kids mostly just a few stars and Mars.  I only need 2 stars and about 10 minutes to setup and align the electronics.  Then the scope finds and stays on the object you are looking for, for hours.

Thanks to my last injury, I had not used the scope in a long time. The impact of that was that the scope was out of columniation.  That’s a fancy way of saying the mirrors were out of alignment. I forgot my Allen key, but one of the dad’s there had one.  That was really nice of him.  That with my laser calumniator made short work of fixing that up.

While I was able to talk to the kids while  I was doing that, I really wanted to show them M13 which was right overhead, and in a great spot in the sky.  Things near zenith have less air to go through, which means less scattering of the light, and thus a better view. M13 is a globular cluster, a big bright one, that just looks amazing.

It was a 40 minute drive each way, and I don’t regret it as the kids were great.  I just wanted to show them more. If I could have seen a few stars for long enough, I could have tuned the electronics so that the scope would counter the Earth’s motion and enabled me to go high magnification on Mars.  Then they would have seen some crazy detail.

Oh well, we will try this again Sunday, when we are at a different town in the area, at another park.

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