CPODD Retreat at Children's Harbor

"CPODD" is the Center for Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Disease. They are funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and provide comprehensive care to kids at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. MS is very rare in kids. MS is a chronic often disabling illness and there is no cure.

Back in March, Sarah M. Dowdy, the coordinator for CPODD at UAB, asked if we could share the night sky with  her group at their weekend long "Reaching for the Stars Together" retreat at Children’s Harbor on Lake Martin.  We had a group of 80-100 guests at the Saturday, June 20 event.  Because summer solstice would be the next day, sunset on Saturday was late -- 7:55 PM, resulting in the sky not being dark enough for telescopic viewing until about 45 minutes later, so we put off the start observing until 9:00PM.  By then, the clear day that had reached an obscenely hot 106 degree heat index at mid-day had cooled to a tolerable 83 degrees.  The haze dissipated with the lower temperatures showing black skies and brilliant stars.    Even with fairly limited horizons and some local artificial light interference, we were able to share many of the summer showpieces with the guests.  Visitors observed Saturn, binary stars  Gamma Leonis (Algieba) and Epsilon Lyrae (double-double), globular clusters: M-3, M-13, and the Ring Nebulae:  (M-57) among others. 

Thanks to the following for their time and telescopes:

  • Allen Screws, 10-inch home made Dobsonian
  • Russell Whigham, Celestron C-11 SCT
  • Scott Thompson and Brent Holman, 7-inch AstroPhysics refractor 
  • Elliot Errera, AAS 8-inch loaner 
  • Jim Garner, 8-inch Meade SCT 
  • Frank Ward, 12-inch Lightbridge Dobsonian 
  • Everett Leonard, 10-inch Orion Reflector 
  • David McConnell, 8-inch Celestron SCT
  • Ray Kunert, Sky 90 Takahashi refractor
  • Michael Pastorett, 114mm Goto reflector
  • Stephanie & Quinton Doss, ETX-70 and 60mm reftactor
  • Aniket Shirgaokar
  • John Howard
Photo by Brent Holman

Photo by Brent Holman

Photo by Brent Holman