January 12, 2008
At the invitation of Jennifer Lolley, administrator of the Forest Ecology Preserve in Auburn, we helped share the night sky with an estimated 200+ visitors who braved the January cold to enjoy the experience. Representing AAS were:
For most of the afternoon the skies were overcast. We went with the Clear Sky Clock prediction of clearing by 8:00. By 5:00PM as we began setting up the telescopes, we could see breaks in the clouds and were rewarded with mostly clear skies by 7:30.
Promptly at 7:00PM, the program began with a welcome
by Jennifer followed by an overview of the evening’s activities.
She then introduced AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, who in turn introduced
the AAS members who brought their telescopes. Rhon then went on to
explain how the telescope enables us to see small and faint objects in
the night sky, using the AAS 8-inch loaned scope in the demonstration.
At the conclusion of Rhon’s talk, the visitors headed out into the darkness.
Out on the observing field, Jennifer siphoned off some of the group for a constellation recognition presentation using her green laser pointer, while other visitors queued up behind the telescopes. The four-day-old Moon, Uranus, and Pallas, had slipped behind the pine trees, and Comet Tuttle was hazed out by the time the visitors approached the scopes, but with the Moon out of the way, the prospects of the winter deep-sky objects were suddenly an option. Guests were treated to views of Mars, the Orion Nebula, open clusters M-35, M-41, M-46, M-47, and the Andromeda Galaxy.
Thanks to Jennifer Lolley and AAS event coordinator, Rhon Jenkins, for his work to make this happen.