National Astronomy Day, Saturday April 20, 2013
The Delta Astronomical Society will have the largest telescope in the UP on display at the Delta Plaza Mall on Saturday, April 20 from 10am until 4pm. Each spring on Astronomy Day, the members of DAS join planetariums, museums, libraries, universities, and hundreds of astronomy clubs across the country to share with the public their passion for observing the night skies.
Club members will be on hand at the Delta Plaza mall with their observing equipment and free Sky Calendars from Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. They will gladly answer your questions about astronomy and related subjects. Books, guides and equipment for assisting in viewing and photographing the sky through telescopes, binoculars, or naked eye, will be available for you to examine.
While many people think of astronomy as observing stars and planets in the night skies, there is also a nearby star visible in the daytime, just 93 million miles away— The Sun! If skies are clear Saturday afternoon, you might safely catch a glimpse of a sunspot through a specially equipped ten-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.
At dusk—about 8:30 pm, if skies are clear, DAS will host a free public observing session in Ludington Park, from the parking lot by the bathhouse on Aronson Island. The planet Jupiter, a First Quarter Moon, and the beautiful, ringed planet Saturn will grace the skies. Saturn’s rings appear brighter than they have been since 2006; being tilted nearly 20 degrees open to our line of sight from Earth. The view of Saturn through the Club’s 22-inch diameter, eight-foot long telescope might just take your breath away. Later in the night, a few bright meteors could streak across the skies; part of the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower, which peaks in the early morning of the 22nd.
If you have a telescope of your own, you are welcome come a few minutes early and set up and observe with DAS. Call John Burroughs for more information: 789-1414.
Dress warmly, with winter shoes, hats and gloves, as it is still quite cold after dark. Red lens flashlights are welcome, but please leave your red lasers and bright LED flashlights at home.
Please dim your headlights as you approach the parking area, to protect other observers’ night vision.
Dan Young, DAS