During the COVID-19 pandemic, OAFs has stopped doing public “sidewalk astronomy” events. We miss it, and hope we’re in a position to be able to safely resume, maybe in the summer of 2021.
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Last night was the RASC star party at the Diefenbunker, and it was a perfect night. I haven’t heard the official counts, but there were about 15 ‘scopes, and over a hundred visitors. At dusk, before fully dark, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars were all visible, and being shown in most of the scopes. As dark came on most people switched to deep-sky objects. The sky was very clear, good transparency, and good seeing. It was also, finally, pleasantly cool, temp around 10°. A great evening. With luck, next weekend we might manage another sidewalk session too.
The RASC star party at Carp Library went ahead last night. About 15 scopes, including quite a few people who were at their first star party, and several who were literally using their new scope for the first time. Several OAFs among the scopes. I recall 6 of us — maybe more that I didn’t notice. I would guess about 100 non-scope visitors including, again, many people for their first time.
One nice event — a couple were there with a newly-bought scope, and got help assembling it. The scope was actually a gift for a friend, who they had invited to join them at the star party and presented with the scope as a surprise.
Scopes arriving and setting up.
Unfortunately, the sky wasn’t as cooperative.
The evening started well — just around Sunset Jupiter was spectacular in the South, with fair seeing. Everyone had a good look. Saturn rose through a low layer of cloud in the western horizon and many people had their first look at Saturn, with the appropriate “ooohs” and “aaahs”. The view wasn’t very good, as it was low and in the soup.
However, there was a nasty dark bank of clouds in the West which eventually covered more than half the sky. By 11:00 I had succeeded in showing only two DSOs to visitors – M3 and M13 through sucker holes, and neither of those lasted very long. I gave up at 11:00 and packed. By the time I was leaving — 11:30ish — I think the few remaining scopes were having more success, as the clouds cleared somewhat.
See you at the next one.
The Carp Star Party has been cancelled for tomorrow (Friday). Rain date is Saturday.
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