Girl Scouts @ Camp Tuckaho 9-4-11

posted Sep 5, 2011, 9:54 AM by Jim Twellman
The air was pleasantly cool and the skies were clear.  That and no bugs meant a very good night for all!

This event was postponed from Saturday to Sunday night, due to heavy clouds and rain Saturday night.   The front had moved thru, and the transparency was great.   The moon was a bright first quarter in Scorpius.  I'm not much for the moon, but even a lunar novice like myself had to enjoy the "lunar X" that I saw this evening.   It was on the dark side, with light streaming across the terminator forming the 'x'.  It was the first time that I had ever seen it, and we were proud to show it to those who viewed the moon tonight.  It is visible for only about 4 hours, just before 1st quarter.

We had around 70 girl scouts, families, etc. this evening, starting from just before 8pm and lasting until just after 11pm (hanging until Jupiter came up around 10:30 over the tree line).   Seeing was so-so, perhaps even poor, but transparency was really good.

Stacey Thater manned my 8" Celestar and I danced with my 16" hot water heater. I hope that Stacey's neck feels okay tomorrow...  

Here's a list of what they got to see:
Hubble Space Telescope
Moon at 1st qtr, lunar x
Double Cluster in Perseus
Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1)
M13, M57, M81, M82, M11, M31 (32, 110)

Comet Garradd showed just a bit of tail despite the moonlight, but it was real hard for non-astro nuts to discern.  I think the big winner was probably the Double Cluster, girls always seem to like bright open star clusters.  Albireo and M57 were also winners.   The moon was a favorite for the smaller kiddos.  It is easier for their eyes to latch onto something big, bright, and easy.

During a short break around 11pm, I took a peek at M101, to see if I could see the new supernova there.  It was VERY hard to discern M101, but I am very familiar with that star-hop, and could barely make out some fuzz with averted vision.  There was a ~11 mag star on one corner, with no other stars seen across what "face" of M101 that I could see.

Clouds started rolling in around 11pm, and it was mostly cloudy when I got home.  The temps had sure cooled down. It was in the upper 90's just a day ago.  What a difference a day makes!    This group had quite a few folks with perhaps a "closet-appreciation" for astronomy.  As usual, I enjoy giving views to everyone, but those who really dig it are a special treat and a pleasure to serve.

Jim Twellman