Sunday, July 6, 2008

GCSP Notes '08

I was so busy with recounting the trip to Illinois that I didn't include much about the GCSP 'o8! It was spectacular! I feel so fortunate to have been able to be involved with it these past three years! How many people can say that they call the Grand Canyon home for a week - unless they work and live there?
The weather was perfect - being in the 80's during the day, and the 40's at night. Each day I would say, "eewww....clouds!", and Dean would assure me, "They'll go away", and of course he was right, every day! It was pretty breezy most of the nights, but we were still able to put Saturn on display (always a favorite!), as well as Jupiter and his moons for all to admire. Between those objects we looked at star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, and usually had a satellite or two to ooh and ahh at every evening. The crowds seems a little less this year, but the people who were there just loved the experience! Dean received an email today, from a woman and her husband from France who were among the public this year! She wanted to thank the Astronomers for the opportunity and experience! After the first year of attending, I have to admit, you become an "oh wow!" junkie! You crave the chance to show someone something that they've never had the chance to see before! We talked to people from England, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and also from nearly every state in the US! I brushed up on my astronomy skills, learning something new every night, as well! I was really excited that I found the Ring Nebula four nights in a row - without help! That's a first for me!

The nightly Astronomy talks went really well, with some new presenters this year. We averaged 200-300 people attending the talk every evening. Of course, the best talk of the week was the night that Dean presented his slides and talk. This was his last "official talk" as the organizer of the GCSP (the above pic). The Rangers, Marker Marshall and Chuck Wahler, made sure to give Dean public thanks and credit for the dynasty he has created there. They also presented him with an "official National Park Service" fleece pullover, and a certificate of appreciation. The group of participating astronomers presented him with a signed long sleeve GCSP '08 t-shirt (which they all signed) on the last day, as well. What great friends he has developed through the years!
I think our next adventure will be sharing a small container of "Chunky Monkey" while we watch a movie tonight...and continue to teach kitties manners (no hissing!). More later!

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