We have had a busy couple of weeks, with the 4th of July and the Escanaba 150th Celebrations.
We held day and night public observing sessions during the two week celebration and also extended our annual 4th of July fundraising booth (we sell homemade lemonade, Sayklly’s Carmel Apples and fudge ) to the 5th, and 6th.
On July 4th we had my 10inch Meade SCT with a solar filter and our digital video feed to our new 24inch flat screen LCD TV for live views of some awesome Sunspot groups, 11am- 6:45 pm. ( photos attached c Rich Luchay, DAS member). Hundreds of people took a look.
On Friday July 12, we had a daylight viewing of the Sun, Venus, and the Moon from 11am-4:30 pm on Ludington St in front of the Library/City Hall entrance. We probably had over 50 people (some as young as 3 years) who had views through both our 22 inch f4.3 Reflector and my 10inch Schmidt Cassie. This was our first outing with our new 10inch glass solar filter used on the 22inch dobsonian. (John built a stop-down cover for the secondary mounting ring (photos attached). Again, we had great public participation, even though we found that the skies were very hazy in the heat & humidity, and finding the Moon was quite a chore! (I could get glimpses of it naked eye, right where my locator data said it should be, but it just kept eluding us in the big ‘scope. We later discovered that our collimation was out.)
That night, we had a public viewing from 8:30 pm until 1am in the grassy field at the Municipal Dock in Escanaba, and again had a live feed from my 10inch SCT to our 24in TV with high power views of the young Moon, Saturn, Ring Nebula, M-13 Hercules Globular etc. Many of the public attending were awed by the live, high power views of the Moon and Saturn. Additionally we find that those with physical challenges such as being wheel chair bound, having poor eyesight, young children etc., can now also easily enjoy astronomical viewing.
We also had our 22inch ‘scope for deep sky observing through the eyepiece, and its views of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Owl Nebula, Ring, and the rich starfields of Sagittarius with M22 and various open clusters and nebulae were awe inspiring. We probably had upwards of 150 people out from sunset until we sent the last of them home at 1am.
We repeated the Friday viewing on Saturday night the 13th, with fewer participants after Escanaba’s closing 150th celebration Fireworks, from about 10:30pm until about 1:30am.