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!). Click here to read Deb's article on the Pope County Tribune web site.
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!
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!
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 Astronomy.com 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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
We've been asked to do a presentation to the local 4H club in Clinton, MN on Oct 16th.
There will be a range of kids there, from about 4th grade through 12th.
Mark put together a Powerpoint slideshow, introducing the basics of amateur astronomy, including what we look at, what tools we use, and a section on Charles Messier, the creator of the Messier Catalog. After the presentation we'll be heading outside for some hands-on time with what they learned.
Stay tuned for a follow-up post and pics.
Mark and Diane arrived and started setting up at around 7:15. While setting up, it didn't look like the clouds wanted to move out, but the 33% gibbous moon was a good target to look at while we waited for the clouds cleared out. We were also able to look at Saturn and two of its moons - that always draws lots of ooohs and aaahs, and it didn't disappoint tonight, either.
We had the great pleasure of showing the night sky to around 30 people - it was a busy night, but they were an especially fun crowd and asked lots of good questions!
We were able to show everyone a good sampling of the types of things we look at while stargazing. Once it got dark enough we started looking at some multiple star systems, such as Albireo in Cygnus, Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), and Polaris (the North Star). We then turned our attention to M13, the Great Hercules Cluster in Hercules. We also looked at the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) in Andromeda and finally the Ring Nebula (M57) in Lyra.
We had a lot of fun with our visitors. I know many were quite amazed at what they saw. That's exactly why we like to share our hobby!
Thank you for coming out, if you weren't able to, we hope to see you out there soon!