Astronomy Day 1999

On Saturday, May 22, the Auburn Astronomical Society, in cooperation with Rick Evans and the staff of the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, joined similar organizations across the nation in celebrating National Astronomy Day in Montgomery's Oak Park. For a while it looked like we might get splattered by one of the afternoon's scattered showers, but the clouds parted right on schedule at sundown. The security officer on duty estimated that the crowd for this year's event was even larger than last year's.

This year we expanded on last year's planetarium show and star party to include a "Telescope Clinic" for visitors to bring their own telescopes if they have specific questions about eyepieces, Barlows, polar alignment, "What's this thingy", etc.

Another first for this year was a presentation by the members of AAS for would-be telescope owners and have our members point out the advantages and disadvantages of their different optical configurations and mounts.  Thanks to the following members who participated in our presentation on How To Select And Use An Astronomical Telescope: Rhon Jenkins, Russell Whigham, Tom McGowan, Alan Cook, Phillip Hosey, and Scott Thompson. I heard several favorable comments following the presentation.

As we did last year, it was good to have a representative sample of  telescopes available for the aspiring amateur astronomers.  Thanks as well to the following who made their telescopes available to the public:

     Rhon Jenkins; 18-inch StarMaster
     Russell Whigham; C-11, Criterion RV-6 reflector, 80mm f/15 refractor
     Alan Cook; 10" Meade LX50; 7X50 & 20X80 binoculars; 90mm Maksutov spotting scope
     Mark Harter; C-8
     Robert Rock; C-8 & Meade 2045
     Phillip Hosey; 8-inch Celestar Deluxe
     Scott Thompson; 7" AstroPhysics refractor
     Ricky Wood; 12" Meade LX200
     Tom McGowan 20" Dobsonian
     Julie Ross; 8" Dobsonian
     Jesse Cole; 10-inch Meade LX-50
     Christna Wilson; 76mm reflector
     Tom Danei; Celestron G-5

And finally, thanks to Rick Evans for providing the facility, coordinating the event, handling the security and publicity, and presenting the program "More than Meets the Eye" in the planetarium as well as  Herb Traywick  whos photos are seen on this page.



 Astronomy Day '99 Agenda

5:00 PM AAS members arrived at the planetarium and set up their telescopes.


6:30 PM: AAS -- An Introduction: Why Who What Where And When 

6:40 PM: How To Select And Use An Astronomical Telescope 

Are YouReady for a Telescope?
What about Binoculars?
How to Choose the Right Telescope FOR YOU?
What are your choices of optical and mechanical configurations?
What to Avoid
Accessories: Eyepieces, Filters, Charts, Software
Cleaning, Aligning, etc.
Coping with Dew 
Observing Techniques

7:40 PM: Telescope Clinic -- Visitors were encouraged to bring their telescopes to have questions answered and to get suggestions for solutions to problems.

8:00 PM: "More than Meets the Eye" -- a program in the planetarium, while we wait for dark.

8:30 PM -- Observing the Moon, Venus and Mars. Sunset for May 22: 07:41 PM CDST

Anxious visitors were lined up at the telescopes even as we 
were concluding our presentation inside the planetarium.
 Tom McGowan assists a young observer at the eyepiece.
 Long lines of observers awaited their time at the 
eyepiece -- many for their first look through a telescope.
 Ricky Wood and Scott Thompson provide portals to the universe.