Most of our public outreach is facilitated at our "Friday Night Open House" events at Broemmelsiek Park. For large groups (50+), we will consider bringing scopes to your event. For requests for a telescope outing, or if a large group (50+) plans to come to Broemmelsiek, please email Outreach@asemonline.org
. For those who would like to help support our efforts to bring astronomy to the public, free of charge, please consider joining our society ($50) or otherwise offering your support. We are a tax-deductible 501-3c charitable organization. Membership application
John Sgouros, Marv Stewart, and myself set up at Camp Derricotte shortly after sundown. The first wave of campers came to us on-schedule at 7:30pm. With our 3 scopes we showed them M22, M13, M27, M31, Albireo, and the Owl Cluster, over the course of the evening. Four waves total came thru at about 30 minute intervals, for an estimated total of 110 campers, counselors, and teachers. Sky conditions were really good at the start of the evening, but some streaks of upper atmosphere cirrus clouds (or vapor trails?) hung around motionless, criss-crossing the sky by the time we finished shortly after 9:35pm. These did not harm telescope views, but they sure took the wow out of the Milky Way.
The kids were well-behaved. The temperatures were moderate, and the mosquitoes were much less prolific than they had been at Cuivre's campground (Beach area) just 3 nights prior. Many groups gave a coordinated "thank-you" as they moved on. Our volunteers feed on the frequent exclamations ("ooh", "ahh!", "Wow!", etc.) uttered by the kids when they first spot the targeted object in the eyepiece. Many kids took "a long drink" at the eyepiece, and we informed them and their teachers that we provide these views every clear Friday night at Broemmelsiek Park.
We had very nice weather for this event. David Lloyd and myself set up at the Beach Access area of the camp grounds area of this state park. David brought the 25x100s and the 12" dob, and I brought the 8" SCT and my 16" dob. We got started around 7:30, before it was truly dark. The main group, all cub scouts and other young ones, came at the beginning. Dave and I drafted a couple of adult volunteers and we went thru this group pretty fast. By the time they thinned out, the older scouts came thru. Many asked good questions. At the end, some of the young ones came thru a second time. We realize that these are the ones who have true interest. Both of these last groups enjoyed a lot more personal time with us and the telescopes.
Among other things we showed them M22, M31, M27, M57, Albireo, M7, the Double Cluster, and the Veil Nebula.
The group thinned out by 9:30, and a State Park employee came with bright lights to clean out nearby trash cans and pretty much ended the event. During the evening we enjoyed showing the Milky Way, at least one satellite, and pointed out several constellations. The Big Dipper was behind the trees, making it impossible to show how the pointers direct us to the North Star.
This camp had many scouts not showing until Saturday, and likewise some who would not have been there Saturday and only attended camp on Friday. I estimate that we had 85 folks (parents, scouts, siblings) total look thru our scopes tonight. The kids were fairly well behaved and the parents were very thankful. We probably should have split the initial wave into two separate groups, but beside that things went very well.
A very cloudy day once again at Discovery Ridge Elementary. We started out inside as ther was some risk of lightning to start the day. After the first hour we moved outside. Even if we could not see the Sun, outside is always more fun!
Eddie Agha and Steve Boerner brought Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) scopes, while Marv Stewart handled the solar charts, pictures, and diagrams. I brought my 8" SCT and had the kiddos look thru it at the tops of telephone poles! It was training for some who had no prior experience looking thru a telescope.
We started at 9AM and got a couple of breaks, ending at 2:30PM that afternoon. Over the course of 3.5 hours with the kids we provided education and entertainment for over 220 kids and staff. They learned how telescopes work, factoids about the nearest star (our Sun), and other tidbits of astronomical science.
Unfortunately, the cloudy skies continued into the night. Many of our guests from DRE came out to Broemmelsiek Park that night anyway, and we invited them to come back to Broemmelsiek Park on the next clear Friday night, or any Friday night for that matter. Hopefully we'll get better weather next year for Discovery Days.
(Wentzville School District photo)
DRE kiddos hamming it up at Marv's "Solar Table".
Inside the school at the start. Telescope views of nearby artwork
of Mars and Jupiter at the other end of the hallway.
Below: Outside, under the eaves, protected from an occasional drizzle.
Amy White, David Lloyd, and myself arrived at Klondike Park Shelter #1 around sunset and found the air thick with smoke. We set up as far from campsites and grills as we could, but it was still actually thick enough to taste. It turned out that the Park Rangers were cooking some deep dish (?) peach cobbler in a camp fire! Some was brought to us later on, and it was really delicious (but probably not offsetting the extra time I have yet to spend wiping eyepieces clean). It probably wasn't all that bad, since none of us were spotting a Zambuto mirror tonight... Still, I think we may need to move back to our "Old" shelter (#3) in the future here.
In any case, we had our first 'customers' viewing the moon before it got dark, just before 8pm. Amy brought her reflector, and David brought both the club's big binos as well as the club's 12" dob. Over the next hour and a half a pretty steady line formed, and I believe we had around 75 look thru our scopes. I showed the gibbous waxing Moon, Albireo, M13, M31, and M15 thru my 16" scope, and showed constellations via laser and told related Perseus mythology to a couple sets of eager listeners.
The skies had a few pesky clouds, but not bad at all. It was cool with a slight breeze, so no 'skeeters or other bugs to bother us. We had lights at both far ends of the parking lot (not terribly bothersome with the bright moon out), and a great view of the red lights on the coal fired generating plant just across the river. The view here is SO much short of the beautiful rock hills surrounding Shelter #3, but I have to admit that Shelter #1 gets more traffic from the campers, since it is the closest restroom facility to the cabins and camp grounds.
The lines thinned out around 9:30 and we packed up and I was out by 10pm.
The moon was fairly kind for this event in 2013, but the weather could have been better. The shower has a long "peak", and our plans were to maximize our local peak period, on Sunday Aug 12 thru the morning of the 13th. Given plenty of consideration, we (ASEM and St Charles County Parks) did NOT publicize this event. It was simply on our club calendar. Here is kind of what happened:SATURDAY EVENING, AUGUST 11
Pre-Peak. This was the evening of our club's monthly ASEM meeting, so we did not arrive at the park until sometime after dark. Some "public" were already there upon arrival.
I did not get a total people-count, will update this report if I can ascertain a number from someone else. It was probably in the 40-50-range, not unlike a Friday Night Open House. I set up near the front with just my lounge chair and my big binos. Grant set up nearby with Nolan's 8" scope and gave it a try out (it split the double-double in Lyra easily). I hope that scope finds a good loving home soon.
Dew hit around 10pm, almost before it got completely dark. Not a real heavy dew, but bad enough to cause repeated fogging of my binos, which I fought for a while.
I spent as much or more time observing and talking than I did looking out for meteors. I also got stung on my finger tip by a wasp when plugging in a hair dryer that Amy provided to me to rid my binos of dew, and my concentration was completely down-hill from there. I personally observed only 4 meteors and two of those were not Perseids. I left around midnight or so, and I think there were at least 20 people still there when I left. Many came in later on with blankets. We had around 4 telescopes for them until around 11pm as I recall.
Despite everything, I had a good time overall, observing with my binos and chatting. The night was mostly clear and not too warm at all.
SUNDAY EVENING, AUGUST 12
I came to the park during the daytime, and systematically sprayed all of the electrical outlets to rid them of the offending wasps. My vengeance-sated, I returned home for a nap and more first-aid treatment.
This night was closest-to peak for our location on our side of the globe, and it was the night we had planned on and had posted on our club calendar. The skies were turning cloudy, and the forecast for the 13th was even worse. My stung finger had become badly swollen, and due to it being predominately cloudy that was enough to cease my plans for going out again.
Here is Amy's report:
---------90 visitors came out to Broemmelsiek tonight to view meteors. Maybe 3 visitors actually saw a meteor streak.
I got to BPO at 8:30pm and there were already 25 people hanging around.
The sky became unambiguously crap at 9:30 and continued to be lousy
until I left. But people still kept coming. Then an equilibrium state
existed for a few hours, when the number of bored people leaving equaled
the number of optimistic people arriving.
I greeted people, welcomed them to the Park, and let them know what to
expect (not much). Also strongly encouraged them to visit again on a
clear Friday evening for the public telescope viewing.
I left around 1:40am today. There were still around 20 bodies at the Park. I will not be back on Monday evening.
Curious: no dew at all. Not a bit.
Thank goodness for Amy showing up and being an angel to all those who came to see little but the clouds. Showing nebulae can be fun for us, but not so when it is the "Missouri Nebula" (!). I almost cannot believe that we drew 90 people there without any type of publicizing, and on a mostly-cloudy night!
Monday August 13 was completely overcast and cloudy. I would not be surprised if some people came to the park that night anyway, but none of our folks have admitted to it so far. The public may have come out even with it being completely overcast, as we have seen many times before.
I believe that a large part of the adult population are inclined to watch a meteor shower, to show their kids the "falling stars", and to relax under the stars in the summer night (before the school year starts) as they probably did once or twice when they were young. Sometimes the moon and the weather just don't cooperate as well as we would like.
- Jim Twellman
Eddie Agha, TNI Astronomy Educator shares his love of astronomy to our 5th and 6th graders at our “Change for Change” event July 11, 2013. He is shown here with his solar scope and he “enlightened” over 60 campers and their parents being able to view the sun safely. Later in the evening he took parents and campers on an astronomy hike to view the constellations.
Thank you Eddie for sharing your knowledge and love of astronomy!Patricia Brown, Education DirectorCertified Interpreter GuidePresident, Environmental Education Association of ILThe Nature Institutewww.thenatureinstitute.org
We provided 3 scopes to this event. John Sgouros brought his APO refractor, Mike Clemente brought his 11" SCT, and I dragged out the 16" dob. We set up in the grass behind the horseshoe pits at the Old Monroe (Winfield area) K of C grounds. The scouts had daylight/twilight camp activities, and were well behaved for us.
Due to an unfavorable weather forecast for Wednesday, we pushed the event off to its' back-up date of Thursday which as of Wednesday morning looked preferable. It turned out that Wednesday night was the pick of the two. Our meteorology department was caught napping! The skies Thursday were tough at times, but for the most part we gave the scouts what they expected. Early views of the moon at all scopes. I let them focus the dob on the moon, so my line was a bit long and slow. Saturn was responsible for many ooh's and ahh's at John's and Mike's scopes. When possible, with respect to maintaining the scope and the clouds above, we would use laser pointers to show how to use the Big Dipper to find Polaris. The Northern sky was often more free of clouds than the Southern sky.
We got started just before 9pm, with a small part of the crowd. The 30 per shift thing was a little loose, as those in waiting were close by and the anxious ones got extra looks in, which is sort of good. We had some parents and siblings, for a total estimated crowd of 90. Several were very interested. I noticed some had planetarium apps on their cell phones. We mentioned Friday Night Open House's at Broemmelsiek several times.
More than half the crowd departed by the time it got fairly dark. I turned to double stars, like Mizar and Cor Caroli. I know that Mike showed M13 and M57 later on. Toward the end the clouds were approaching 80%, and the sucker holes got small. The campers were all needing to head home, as their parents were to be at work the next morning (just like us!). We were pretty much done by 10:15 and I was home by 11pm.
Hopefully we will see some of these families in the future at Broemmelsiek Park.
This event had been scheduled for Saturday May 6, but was hurriedly re-scheduled to Friday night due to weather forecasts. I arrived at 7:15 and set up two telescopes (16" dob and 8" SCT) at Shelter #5. The 45 scouts (and families) hiked over from the camp site at 8:10 in an obviously excited state. After introductions, the group was split up in smaller units to look thru the scopes. Two parents were 'recruited' to assist at each scope while I went back and forth. The kids settled into the routine nicely.
Over the course of the next hour the following items were observed/shown:
and it's 4 major moons (Io, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa), which held fairly well at 290x in the 8"
+ M42 (Messier 42) - the Great Orion Nebula, birthplace of young stars, at 60x in the 16"
+ M3 - globular star cluster in Canes Venatici, at 203x in the 16"
+ M41 - open star cluster in Canis Major, at 60x in the 16"
+ a Canes Venatici ("Cor Caroli") - colorful double star, at 80x in the 8"
+ M45 open cluster: the Pleiades (aka the Seven Sisters, aka, "Subaru"), at 60x in the 16"
+ M41 open cluster, at 60x in the 16"
the belt loops, we covered focusing a telescope, how to find
the North Star (Polaris), and talking to an astronomer (amateur in my
case, but it counts). Constellations and asterisms that were pointed out included: Orion, Big Dipper (part of Ursa Major), Leo, and Cassiopeia.
By 9:15 it had clouded up and I began to pack everything up and left by 9:40. This was my first major outreach for 2013, and my scopes seemed 'heavier' than I remembered! The good news is that everything worked fairly well, and no major surprises.
[Below: a look toward the camp, from Shelter #5 (a short hike away)]
This event was light on astronomy (some solar views), but was done in cooperation with our partners at St Charles County Parks Department. Someday we may see more of an alliance with local birder organizations. Our thanks to the participants who shared their time serving the public in the cold. - - Jim T
Marc Arnold, David Lloyd, John Sgouros, and I were there this morning.
Cold & windy might best describe it. I was less than a thrill to see ice forming on the shoreline of the river. Kathy Arnold was there, but was
too cold, left for a while, and then came back. The wind was about 15
mph out of the NW. We set up between the parking lot and river so we
could focus on the island and Illinois. I'm guessing that we saw about
10 birds and three spent a good deal of time perched so the optics were on
them most of the time. Surprise, most of the time the birds were on our
side of the river and we rarely were focused on the Illinois side.
John pushed ASEM and FNOHs and passed out quite a few
business cards. After 2 1/2 hours last night, getting up early this
morning, the cold, and wind, I pretty much sat.
Nancy & Betty from the Parks Department were both there as were about 100 people. I get the
impression from talking to Nancy that we'll be asked back next year and
they'll include us in the flyer.
Mark & I both had our dobs & binos, David had binos, and John
had two refractors. Some where along the line I mentioned solar filter. John had one in his car and put it on one of his scopes. It was a
good idea because we didn't always have an eagle present. For future
reference, SCTs would be better than Newts because our birds perched on
their heads;-) and the lower eyepiece location meant that my scope was often blocked by
cars in the lot.. We had Newts/Dobs because we both were too lazy to
unpack & repack from the FNOH less than nine hours earlier.
It's tough to do something Friday night and then on Saturday morning!
- - Steve B
Marc A. and Steve B. sighting in the binos on their parallelogram mounts.
John S. and scope.
[The weather was warm, but the clouds rolled in on this event - JT.]
kids were excited just to see the telescopes and your members did a
nice job talking to them about the parts etc. We took a couple if pics,
but the teacher left
her camera at home today. I will send them to you as soon as I get
also sent out a thank you email to parents with an invitation to your
next public viewing. Hopefully, you will see some of our kids!
Thank you so much for helping us out! We learned a lot this first time, so next time we will be more prepared.
As the guys probably told you, we were completely clouded out after
about 30 minutes. We told a lot of people about Friday evenings at BPO
and let them know about asemonline.org
I had brought my 10" Dob. So I spent the remaining time at the school
showing people their beautiful faces in a 10" mirror with red light.
This seemed to please people.
David is a part-time staff with the
St. Louis franchise of the Challenger Center. It might be good for
ASEM to get to know these folks. Their focus is on school-age kids and
A quick report...
I got to the school about 5:30 pm and Amy was already set up in the SE
corner of the lot. John and Stacey were there by 6. People started to
arrive about 5:45 pm in twilight and got views of Jupiter. You could
see clouds in the west and the kept getting closer and closer. We were
able to align with Capella and Aldebran. John (I think) and I managed
to get M45 in our scopes. Eventually M45 clouded out and I guessed
correctly that M38 would be possible. After about 5 minutes it was gone
too. We were pretty much done by 6:30 pm.
We kept on pushing ASEM, FNOHs, Beginner Meetings for the rest of the
night. Stacey & John were gone by 7:15pm and Amy & I by 7:45.
Amy & I guessed that there were around 200 kids and parents. I'm
going with that number for the count unless you want to get a number
from the school contact.
Everyone was very complimentary & expressed thanks for us coming.