Monday, February 02, 2009

planet gazing with Sparks (Toronto)

Tony asked me to assist during his presentation to a Sparks group this evening. It was amazing. The girls had so many questions! What a hoot.

I gave Tony the high sign, five minutes to go. Then I headed outside and assembled the Dobsonian. We had the Toronto Centre's 8" reflector for the evening. I attached the Telrad. I dropped in the 2" eyepiece.

Good! Venus was still visible. Took me a while to find a good spot. Venus looked good at high power. The phase was less than half. It resolved nicely into a wide crescent. Some of the Sparks could see it, thought it looked like a little Moon.

Did I see a star near Venus in the low-power eyepiece?

The Moon was a big hit. It was awesome in the wide-field! A real crowd pleaser.

Good timing! I heard my palmtop alarm for the ISS flyover. As I glanced over the roof of the church, I just caught it. I was able to get everyone ready. When the amber point cleared the building, climbing into the sky, heading toward Orion, everyone was very intrigued. I reminded the Sparks that a few people were living up there...

We made sure everyone had a look through the telescope. Parents were showing up to gather their girls. We gave them a look-see too.

Tony turned the Dob to M42. We could easily see the nebula at low power. It was easy to split the four main stars of the Trapezium.

Fun evening. And Tony was crazy lucky with the weather!

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