Tuesday, April 15, 2008

helped Tony at Keele (Toronto)

Tony had planned an astronomy event for the kids at the Keele Street Junior Public School and he put out the call for volunteers during the evening star party. It was just a couple of blocks away...

We observed from the Lithuania Park. Not a bad spot. Good sight lines to the west, east, and north. South and south-west are tall apartment buildings, but hey. And once Tony and I blocked the park lamps (huh?!), the eastern views were even better!

I enjoyed the view of the Moon in the new 36mm baader planetarium eyepiece. Not too crowded, good detail. This will be a wonderful eyepiece for occultations and close conjunctions.

William caught the Great Orion Nebula and the Trapezium before it ducked behind trees. Good for him. I had put Orion targets out of mind assuming they'd be hidden by apartment towers.

Attention quickly went to Saturn. Immediately, I could see Titan, off to the far left, about 3 to 4 ring widths away, at 110x. Later, as it got darker, I could see Rhea, on the right, about 1 ring width away. I could not spot Tethys or Dione...

The kids were quite enthusiastic!

Late in the evening, I turned to some double stars: Mizar and Alcor, Algieba, and Polaris... γ (gamma) Leo (aka Algieba) was very nice, very pretty when the air settled. The very faint companion of Polaris was barely visible. In fact, William couldn't find it in his small refractor. I helped him out, getting him to look in my 'scope, and then suggesting he use a non-zoom eyepiece, to try to simplify the light path. We finally found it. Tough target.

As we began packing up at 10:00 PM, I noted the temperature (5.5°C) and humidity (60%) with the Oregon Scientific.


As anticipated, the 40mW green laser was a huge hit with the kids. They were freaking out when I used it, insisting I shine it on the ground. Many of these kids wanted to know how much it cost and where I got it. Weird.

I am still not sure if it is working correctly. It seemed, like the first two units, to be fluctuating. Tony commented on it too... Damn it. We'll see what happens at the Runnymede event.

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