Klondike Park - Family Camping - Sept 8, 2012

posted Sep 9, 2012, 6:28 AM by Jim Twellman

The weather was nearly perfect, just one day after severe weather had cancelled this event on Friday.   The temperatures were very pleasant at sundown, and several kids hungrily buzzed around us as we set up our scopes.

Our shared views started around 8pm with Albireo.  No planets were available except Uranus and Neptune, as the Western horizon was blocked by trees.  Unfortunately, those planets were low in the St Louis skyglow, and were not viewed.  Two parking lot lights in the distance on opposite ends also created some challenges for us.  It was easily managed, but when everyone was gone at 10:30 and the timers shut them off, it was a relief felt unanimously - although by then we were mostly packing.  I estimate that we had 55 visitors overall.  They mostly came in groups of 10-15 and cycled thru.  We had very few that came thru twice, but had several mention that they had friends who were very into astronomy.  Many campers were from St Louis County.

Telescope operators were John Sgorous, Amy White, and myself.  Grant Martin provided laser-assisted naked-eye astronomy and wowed many by pointing out satellites and the great Andromeda galaxy.  Objects shown included M22, M13, M57, M31, M27, M52, M8, and the Veil Nebula.  Most campers had cycled thru by 9:00pm, but after a brief hiatus for some camp "awards" stragglers came thru in small groups of 2-5.  All were done at 10:15 and we packed out.  I hung around for a quick view of the Helix before packing and was home by 11:30.  My favorite views for the night were M8 with a 2" OIII at 60x and M13 at 203x.

Jim Twellman
Early arrivals trying to figure out how to look thru John's scope.