Homeschool Stargaze at Wind Creek

On Saturday, April 09, we hosted a stargaze for the students of a Montgomery area homeschool group at Wind Creek State Park on Lake Martin.  We were located on a small peninsula in the North Picnic Area of the park  The park ranger, Gerad Martin, referred to this as "Snake Island" because of its appearance resembling a snake head from the satellite image at full pool water level.

We arrived about 6:00PM, an hour before sunset.  With trees all around, it was a less than ideal location but we managed by having some of our scopes on the west side of the
peninsula and the others on the eastern shore.  The weather, on the other hand, was perfect -- clear cool transparent skies.  We did have to contend with the artificial lights from the beach area across the way, but all in all, we had a good night for the kids and parents.  To the west, we were able to share views of the several open clusters in Canis Major, Gemini, Auriga; a 3-day old moon.  And to the west, Jupiter, binary star Algieba, galaxies M-65 & 66 and by chance, even a weather balloon and its instrument package early in the evening.  The sky seemed especially busy with satellites and at least one Iridium flare. 

Thanks to Hayley Croft of the Keeping It Classical Co-Op, for seeking us out for the practical enrichment of their children's education, and to our president, Allen Screws, for making all of the arrangements as well as our members who volunteered their time and equipment:
Allen - 10-inch Dobsonian
John - 3.5-inch Questar
David - AAS's 8-inch Konusky Equatorial Newtonian
Russell - C-11 SCT
Mike & his son David - Meade 127ED f/9, C-8 SCT, & big binoculars
Frank - 12-inch LightBridge Dobsonian
Facebook member, Larry - iOpton 90mm Maksutov