Sunday, August 30, 2009

Minnesota Astronomical Society Star Party Update


Jupiter and 3 moons
Originally uploaded by Mully410

In an earlier post, I mentioned I was planning to head out to the Onan Observatory for a public star party hosted by the Minnesota Astronomical Society. I followed through with that plan.

The day started out great with a clear sky, slight wind and a great temperature around 60F. As the day progressed, the clouds rolled in. By the time it got around to my deadline for a go, no-go call, it was mostly cloudy. Since I was already 2/3rds of the way to the observatory visiting my parents, I decided to head out there anyway.

I'm sure glad I did. The place was packed with maybe 50 people at the start. The skeeters were also out in force. The highlight for most was Jupiter. Through MAS's variety of telescopes, I saw Jupiter's cloud bands and 4 of its moons. The above shot was taken with my little camera held up to the eyepiece of one of their 16" scopes. I was only able to get 3 of the moons in my frame for some reason. From left to right the moons are: Europa, Io and Ganymede according to my StarMap Pro software on the iPod. The big white blob is Jupiter, of course.


MAS Star Party Onan

I also saw the M13 and M15 clusters but my personal highlight was Neptune. I hadn't see Neptune through a telescope until this night. It looked like a blueish greenish dot that was definitely not a star. Very interesting.

My lawn chair came in handy. I kicked back and watched for satellites and checked out Jupiter with my binoculars. I was surprised that I could see the 4 moons with my 7x35 Nikon. I mostly use that for bird watching.

I will be out there again and will likely join their club in future. I had a fun time talking with a members about various telescopes and have pretty much decided on what scope I'll get, if I get around to getting one...10" Orion Newtonian Reflector on a Dobs mount.


Blurry Moon

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