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.

Astronomy Presentation for a Local 4H Club

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.

A Fun Night Stargazing!

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!

Clear Skies!

Star Party Report for Sat., Sept. 12th

Due to the great weather all day and forecast for that evening, we put together a last-minute star party and it proved well worth it.

Mark arrived at around 7pm to start setting up (read: learn how to set up) the new Celestron Nexstar GPS 8. Once John arrived at around 7:15, we had quite an audience watching us hover over the telescope and controller, pretending we knew what we were doing! But eventually we got it aligned and on Saturn, which was quite a sight.

Saturn, with its amazing rings, and its moon, Titan are always a great first thing to see in a telescope and the 20 or so visitors were quite wowed by it. We were also visited by Kris from Bloomington and his 6" Dob. We're always happy to have more 'scopes join us!

We were able to start looking at Saturn as early as around 7:50pm - just 10 minutes after sunset, so it was a bit of a wait before we were able to start seeing the rest of the night sky. But by around 8:30 it was plenty dark enough to start looking at things like the multiple star systems Albireo in Cygnus, and Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major (The Big Dipper). We also looked at some globular clusters, such as The Great Hercules Cluster, M13, and the globular cluster M22 in Sagittarius. The Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra, the Eagle Nebula, M16, also in Sagittarius, and the Little Dumbbell Nebula, M76 in Perseus were looking good, too.

There was a lot of yawning going on by around 11pm, so we started packing up.

It was a great night for viewing and all of the visitors we get make it even better - we love sharing our hobby!

Weather-depending, we're still on for our regularly scheduled Public Stargazing Event next Saturday, the 26th, so we hope to see you there!


Impromptu Public Stargazing Event Tonight – Sept 12th

The skies are supposed to be exceptional tonight, our regular GLASS people are all available (that's been rare this summer), and we have a new 'scope to play with - a Celestron Nexstar GPS 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain. So we're holding a spur-of-the-moment Star Party tonight.

Sunset is as 7:39 and we'll need some extra set-up time with the new scope, so we'll be showing up at the latest 7pm. As usual we'll be in the middle of the circle at the Horse Camp area.


Star Party Report for 15 August

Lucky John got to head up the event all by himself, and as usual when that happens we get swamped! But that's a good thing!

It was a good night for viewing.  About 25 visitors came out to see the wonders of the night sky.

We looked at some doubles, like Albireo in Cygnus, and Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major/The Big Dipper.  We also looked at the Trifid Nebula and a couple of other nebulae. The ISS (International Space Station) did a flyby while we were there. We also looked at the pair of galaxies M81 and M82.

The show really got going, however, after many people had already left. The Northern Lights gave quite a show, reaching almost overhead and shimmering in multiple colors! It's not often they come out that early, so it was quite a treat.

A Great Night for Viewing!

After weeks of bad luck trying to get out to park to hold a star party, it turned out to be a great night for viewing last night.

We were visited by about 25 campers, who were from places such as Rochester, Canby, Minnetonka - even from as far as Western North Dakota. - and plenty of mosquitoes!

We started out the night looking at a sliver of a moon, with Venus in phase, too. And that was before the Sun even set.

When it finally got dark enough to start viewing "the fun stuff", we looked at several multiple-star systems, like Albireo in Cygnus, and Mizar and Alcor in the Big Dipper. We also looked at the Hurcules Cluster and nebulae such as the Trifid Nebula in Sagittarius and the Ring Nebula in Lyra. Galaxies were on the list too, including the Andromeda Galaxy and the galaxy pair M81 and M82.

A highlight of the evening was a beautiful long-lasting meteorite, burning bright yellow and green.

Thanks to all of you who visited us last night - you're why we do this!

Clear skies!

Bringing the night sky to Glenwood and surrounding communities since 2008

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