Emerald Mountain School Star Party


 On Friday, September 17, under the light of a first quarter Moon, Jack McDaniel, Robert Rock and Russell Whigham, took our telescopes to the Emerald Mountain Christian School, located between Wetumpka and Montgomery. Teresa Johnson, who teaches science to the middle grades there, called to say they were studying astronomy and asked if we could bring our telescopes to the school and give the students some hands-on astronomy. Following a picnic supper of hotdogs and fixin's, we each described our telescopes -- explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each as we waited for dark. After comparing views of the Moon through each of the telescopes, separate lines formed behind each of the telescopes as we showed them Ares (Mars) and Antares, the rival of Mars, which were ideally placed for comparison; the vivid contrasting colors of the double star, Alberieo; the open cluster M-11; the classic globular, M-13; and as many other telescopic highlights as the Moon would permit. Jack showed the kids how to find the Dippers and North Star, and a few constellations. We were fortunate to have a couple of bright  satellites pass overhead, and explained to tell the difference between airplanes and satellites. As usual moms and dads enjoyed the show at least as much as the kids. We received a nice thank you note from Teresa. She also offered the school's property as a possible dark sky site for our  club.