Cuivre River State Park - Girl Scout camp - May 22, 2010

posted May 23, 2010, 9:14 AM by Jim Twellman
The weather certainly obliged us for this event! We had 5 scopes operated by
John and Kate Sgouros, Jim and Yvonne Roe, and myself. The crowd at Camp Derricote started
us early, around 8:30, and scopes were aimed only at the moon and Venus for
about 15-20 minutes until Saturn became visible. Other treats shown once
darkness arrived were globs M13, and M3, double stars Mizar, Iota Cancri, and
Algieba, as well as M51 and others.
[ John S. and daughter Kate getting ready]

We had 2 main waves of 50+ girl scouts each plus their parents and occasional
siblings for an estimated total of 130. Most of the girls were 4-5th graders I
believe. The "other 50" went on a short "night-hike" while we worked the half
who were at the scopes.

The bugs were present, but not nearly so bad as expected. I noticed no
mosquitoes, but had to smack at least one June bug and one firefly that buzzed
my head.
[John and Kate, Jim and Yvonne, getting set up]

The kids were well behaved. We tried to keep lines of less than 10 per scope,
which always works best. Lots of "ooh"'s and "ahh"'s, but I definitely heard
mostly "Wow"'s over the course of the evening. One of the girls asked why the
planet or moon that she was looking at had "that line through it", not realizing
that she was looking at Saturn.

The seeing was very good. I had Saturn up to 406x in my 8" and the rings showed
well. I could also see (with averted vision) all of the Little Dipper stars
naked-eye, so the transparency - at least on the other side of the sky from the
moon - was also pretty good. Any DSO within 60 degrees of the moon was
completely obliterated by the moonlight. That part of the sky was simply
out-of-bounds.

A few of the girls asked questions that may have been needed for belt loops etc,
but we gave no formal program. Our effort was primarily of the entertainment
variety.

As we started tearing down at 10:30 I asked some of the few remaining campers
what their favorite views were. Some said "the moon", others "Saturn", and
several said "that glob thing"! I had to agree that the very craggy view along
the moon's terminator tonight was quite a show.

I talked to our hosts for quite a while as I packed up, and got home just before
midnight. The sky was still mostly clear but a few clouds were showing before I
closed the garage door and went to bed.

We couldn't have been more fortunate with the weather on this event, but I think
we were due for a night that wasn't threatened with a tornado watch!

Jim Twellman
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