Broemmelsiek Park - 09/25/09

posted Sep 28, 2009, 11:08 AM by Tom Richards
This past Friday turned out to be an amazing evening at Broemmelsiek Park for the children and parents from Westgate Christian Academy (WCA). WCA planned a “Family Stargazing Event” as a part of their reading and math education program and asked Steve and Terry House of Starfield Ministries to direct the event at the park. The weather and sky conditions you could say was likely an answer to someone's prayer for the evening (and day), since forecast the night before for the St.Louis area was again clouds for most of the day on Friday, just like every day since the beginning of the week, with no better than a 35% cloud cover for the evening. But, to everyone's amazement, the skies cleared mid-day and stayed that way the whole day, and into the evening. So, not only the little kids got to enjoy clear skies and see sights they have never seen before, the big kids (with their scopes) got to enjoy themselves once again (HA), after nearly 3 weeks of clouds and poor visibility in St.Louis.

With Steve and Terry providing a Christian instructional program to some 65-70 children and parents (and grand-parents) from WCA about the heavens and what is up there to see.  All got to see great views of the constellations, 1st quarter moon and cool craters, Jupiter, bright deep sky objects (since the moon had lite up the sky), color binaries, and an ISS pass-over that kicked off the program at 7:15. The kids were really getting a treat this night.

Steve and Terry had their Starfield Ministries scopes there: a 12.5 in homemade dob, 6 in D&G refractor operated by Carissa Day (Will Day's daughter), an 80mm Onyx refractor, and a hand-crafted 12.5" f/6 walnut wood scope made and provided by Darren Marhanka. In addition, members and friends of ASEM were there with scopes in support of public viewing and by being there, this added many more scopes to peak through, especially for those attending the WCA event.  It turned out to be nearly a "full house", with most of the pads occupied.  Of those I remember coming out for ASEM, willing to share their views, (and I apologize for anyone I missed here): Jim and Yvonne brought the newly donated 14.5 Starmaster dob scope out, Jim Stegeman and Frank Kobylanski manned the 10inch SCT in the observatory, Jim Twellman came with his monster Meade 16 in dob, Jim Trull was there with his refreshed LX90, myself with my trusty 8in newt, and Vinod Vydier with a 10 in dob (I believe).

Since the park's reputation is getting around the area, a few others showed up after the event, with and without scopes. It has been estimated that there was another 20 total that showed up to catch the sites through the scopes; this included 5 teenagers arriving at midnight with a small reflector to join in for a short while. A few more serious scope owners arrived later too for visual and AstroPhotography fun. Other than the usual dew that hit hard late (boy, was I glad I brought the hair-dryer this time! HA), all in all it was a great time and a nice change to be out there under a clear starry sky from horizon to horizon.  I had to tear myself away around 2AM - just didn't want to leave.

Pictures shown are with the permi
ssion of Steve House and Starfield Ministries