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Public Star Party At Alaire Park 7/28/01

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Posted by Bob Sal on July 31, 2001 13:32:52 UTC

Hi All;
We gave a Public Star Party at Alaire St. Park on Saturday. In attendance were 6 ASTRA members and the following equipment: 12" LX200, the clubs 8" Dob, an 8" SCT, 7" Maksutov with a home made 4" APO refractor mounted on top. We had a decent showing of about 40 - 50 guests. Unfortunately, this show was very reminiscent of the Summer Starwatch, we had exactly the same sky. We started with mashed potato clouds that soon turned into the traditional cloudy haze you could just barely see a few stars through. Phil spoke for about 10 minutes about ASTRA, the sky conditions and telescopes. The guests were more than ready to see something. So not to be defeated by such a sky we showed them what we could. We saw the Moon through passing clouds, Mars as a bright orange disk with no details and a few double stars which included Alberio and Epsilon Lyra. Since most of the guests were first time observers they were satisfied with these images. We were of course disappointed. Since the sky was so bad we spent most of the time answering questions about our equipment. There was a good discussion about buying a first telescope, how big, what types and of course price range. This is why we stress, even if you don't have a telescope to bring to the Public Star Parties, we could always use the help in fielding some of the questions. I can't tell you the number of times I've been asked at these events, "Hey, What power is that Telescope?". This time I tried to get a big crowd together so as to go through it just once. That helped, I only went through it once more after that for the late comers. Anyway, we had a good time. I love getting together in the field with ASTRA members and guests even if we spend most of the time looking at clouds and asking each other, "What do you think? Is it gonna clear? I think so, lets wait it out". As a wise old Astronomer once told me about an iffy sky, "When in doubt, go out" we can now expand to, "When your out, wait it out". Clear skies.

That's it;
BOB SAL

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