Home Forums RAC Main Forum General Discussion Observing tonight? Re: Observing tonight?

Dean Johnson

    Hello astronomy fans! I've had a lot of fun the last two nights.

    Saturday night was a local outreach night. I got my neighbor Mike and Diane Schmidt to bring their daughter Elizabeth and her four kids out to the Flatin Farm. I showed them "the obvious stuff". Saturn? "That doesn't look real!" "It looks like a decal!" (I hadn't heard that one before  ???) I showed them Polaris, (it's suprising how many people don't know that the North Star is a double star.), M13 the great globular in Hercules, M57 the Ring Nebula, Jupiter and Alberio (Beta Cygni). The two older kids(Savannah and Beaumont, the mom names her kids after places where she travels) were Super Interested in astronomy. They live out east and had never seen so many stars and had never looked through a telescope. The Mom wondered why she couldn't see the constellation Gemini during her birthday month, and I tried to explain that one until she tried to grasp that the Sun was in that constellation during that particular month. "Where is it during the other months?" "How come we can't see Orion right now?" Fortunately the older kids were a bit quicker on the uptake. They are very intelligent and could become avid astronomers.

    Tonight, was just incredible. I saw the double shadow transit of Jupiters moons (Europa and Ganymede). Saturn was awesome. Titan and three of the "amateur moons" made a graceful arc east of the planet. I continued to watch Mars close with Saturn and Regulus. This will be a great thing to point out to the folks come 4th of July. I did binocular observing of the Milky Way in Cygnus and couldn't believe how the North American Nebula stood out. I even could make out the Pelican Nebula right next to it. The dark nebulas in Cygnus were super apparent tonight.    I nailed NGC 7008, a planetary nebula in Cygnus that has been eluding me for some time. I actually found it while the Moon was rising over the horizon. Then as I watched the shadow transits of Jupiter's moons so our Lunar Moon could rise, I saw Lacus Autumni and Lacus Veris on the outer reaches of Mare Oriental. Awesome!

    It was a Glorious Night for Astronomy! I hope some others got out there and enjoyed the sights. It wasn't a night geared toward making progress in observing goals, it was just plain a pleasure to get out there and enjoy the night sky and look at stars. It was incredibly beautiful.

    Come on down to the Flatin Farm for the Star B Q if the weather looks good. I hope it is a night just like this one. 🙂