Next Star Party: August 6th

Our next public stargazing event is Saturday, August 6th.

The Sun will be setting at 8:43, and we usually start setting up 1/2 hour before sunset.

The Moon will be at a nice, thin 15% crescent and sets at 10:39, so we'll have plenty of time to take a look at that. Jupiter will be just setting around dusk, but we may catch a glimpse of it before it does. Saturn and Mars, however, will still be in Sagittarius, so if you've never seen the rings of Saturn with your own eyes, come out and be "wowed"!

Clear skies!


No Shortage of Planets to Look at

John, Kris, and Diane and I showed up at the Horse Camp around 8:45. It wasn't long before visitors started arriving and they came out the gates running with questions! That's a good thing, though. We love to help people learn more about astronomy and the hobby - that's why we're there.

When the Moon is out, it's the perfect thing to get us started with our visitors. It's familiar to everyone (albeit, from a distance), and when they look at it for the first time in a telescope, the questions just start coming! With the Moon at a 34% crescent last night, it was perfect for viewing. The craters were highlighted well with the angle of the sunlight on their edges.

While we were looking at the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars all came out and they were our next targets. Jupiter's Galilean moons were all lined up for viewing and with a little higher power we could make out it's cloud bands. Mars, being at around its brightest in years, was pretty red and stood out quite well among the stars. Saturn is always the "ooh", "aah", and "Wow!" planet with its rings. Its moon Titan was also clearly visible, too.

Once it got dark enough to make out more stars we talked about the constellations and how to make out what's up there. In those constellations we looked at plenty of neat stuff, such as the Hercules Cluster (M13) in Hercules, the Ring Nebula (M57) in Lyra, Epsilon Lyra (the Double Double), also in Lyra; and some neat multiple star systems such as Albireo in Cygnus, Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), and even Polaris (the North Star). We also took a look at a pair of galaxies, M81 and M82, also in Ursa Major.

Unfortunately, the clouds started moving in at around 11pm and by midnight we were almost completely overcast. We would have loved to stick around, as that time of night is the best for viewing, but that's the nature of our hobby: we're at the mercy of the clouds...

All told we had 32 visitors - like I said, it was a busy night - but that's great! That's why we're there: to show people the amazing things out there, teach them a bit about what we look at, and show them how accessible the hobby that we love really is.

We'll see you next month on Saturday August 6th.

Clear skies!


GLASS Featured in Local Paper

As I mentioned last week, Deb Mercier from the Pope County Tribune came to visit us at our June star party. She spent a few hours with us, picked our brains for a bit (that didn't take long!).Thanks, Deb for a great article!

A Busy – But Fun – June Night!

We had a great star party this past Saturday!

Deb Mercier, from the Pope County Tribune, came out to find out more about GLASS and take some pictures for an article she'll be writing about us in an upcoming issue of the Tribune.

One of our visitors, Dan, brought his home made 12.5" truss tube Dobsonian. John brought his new 8" Dob. and is real happy with it.

We had lots of visitors - about 30 in all. Some were campers from Minneapolis or Pine City. Some were from nearby from Willmar and Benson.

With the exception of about 20 minutes of clouding-over, the skies were perfect. We started off the night looking at Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Several of Jupiter's  moons, its cloud bands and the Great Red Spot were visible. Saturn's rings always bring out some "Wow"s - even from those of us who've been doing this a while! Mars, being close than it's been in years, was a very bright red.

As it got darker we turned our 'scopes to deep-sky objects. We looked at Albireo, the double star in Cygnus; Polaris (the North Star), which is also a double; and Mizar and Alcor in the Ursa Major (part of which is more commonly known as the Big Dipper), which is actually a triple-star system. We also looked at a few galaxies: two, M81 and M82 could be seen together in the eyepiece. They are in Ursa Major. We also saw M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, which also in Ursa Major.

There was more than doubles and galaxies to look at, too. We looked at M75, the Ring Nebula, in Lyra. And M13, the Hercules Cluster (in Hercules), which is a "globular cluster", consisting of 100s of thousands of stars all bunched together.

We had a great group of visitors, with great questions. You guys are why we're there! Thanks for another fun night and we hope to see you all again soon!

Clear skies!


Summer 2016 Public Viewing Schedule

We're gearing up for lots of visitors to our public viewing events at GLSP this year. (Click here for details on where we hold our events and directions)

We'll be holding our public viewing the first Saturday of each month, with the exception of July, which will be the second Saturday, the 9th.

We're changing up our "rain date" policy this year. If, on a scheduled day, it's cloudy but not raining, we'll still be showing up and doing a short presentation, after which you're welcome to stick around and get a good look at the equipment and ask questions.

Weather permitting, we usually run our monthly public events through October.

We hope to see you there!

See Five Planets at Once!

On the morning of January 26th, 45 minutes before sunrise (which is at 7:49am), look to the South and you'll be able to see the five inner planets (minus Earth, of course): Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Click here to read the article and see an image showing where to look in the sky for each of the planets.

The view will continue to improve over the next week or so, as Mercury, being the closest to the Sun, will continue to climb higher each morning. This is a rare opportunity, so don't miss out!

Public Stargazing Events Suspended for the Season

The weather continues to get colder now, so we'll be suspending our public stargazing events at Glacial Lakes State Park until next Spring.

It's been a great year for stargazing this year: We've had several opportunities to see the ISS. We've been visited by a lot of campers at GLSP. And we had the pleasure of doing a private presentation to the 4H club at Big Stone Lake State Park.

Look for an announcement early next Spring for when we'll be starting back up!

Star Party Report for Saturday, Oct 17th

Other than being visited several times by an owl, Mark was on his own on Saturday. And anyone that was thinking about coming should have. The skies were excellent and (dressed properly) it really wasn't all that cold.

The moon and Saturn were the first to be out. The "usual suspects", Albireo, Mizar and Alcor, the Hercules Cluster were also looking very good in the excellent skies.

When Sagittarius came up, the scope was turned to a number of clusters and nebulae in that area of the sky.

We hope to see you next time!

4H Clubbers’ Presentation

John and Mark had a great time with the 4H club at Big Stone Lake State Park Friday.

We started off with an hour presentation in the Education Center. The kids were very attentive and had some great questions (the adults had their share of questions, too!).

At around 7pm we went outside to look at all of the stuff we talked about. The skies were very clear and the humidity was low, so the viewing was great!

We looked at Albireo, Mizar and Alcor, the Great Hercules Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy, the galaxy pair M81 & M82, the Ring Nebula, and even saw the ISS do a fly by.

We're always happy to share with anyone about the night sky!

Star Party Scheduled for Oct 17th

Our regular, monthly star party at GLSP will be on Saturday, October 17th.

Sunset is at 6:33, so we'll be there setting up at around 7pm.

The forecast is for clear skies so far, but the temp is going to be in the low 40s, so dress warm!

Saturn will be just on the Western horizon, so hopefully we'll get a peek at that before it sets. The moon will be a nice sliver, so that will be great for viewing.

We'll also have not one, but two fly-bys of the ISS! The first is at 7:52, starting at the Northwestern Horizon. The second will be coming out of the West North West at 9:29. The first will be a good, long track across the Northern sky, lasting about 8 minutes before it passes behind the Earth's shadow. The second will be very short, passing in the Earth's shadow just 6 minutes from when it will be visible. But that's plenty of time to get a good view of it.

Bringing the night sky to Glenwood and surrounding communities since 2008

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