Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Star Party at TIMPA for a few friends

My former UMC friend, Vanessa, came into town to visit her Tucson friends this week. When she was planning her visit, she asked if we would take her out observing for an evening. She had never gotten to do that when she was living here - and now lives in Quincy, Mass. - where she can usually see Orion's belt from her balcony. We were happy to oblige, planning for last evening well in advance and keeping fingers crossed for clear skies! For this outing, the Nurses outnumbered the non-Nurses (for a change)! A few more friends joined in the excursion out to the TAAA nearby 'dark sky site' - TIMPA, and I think that fun was had by all! Pictured left, we are: Frank Koch, Vanessa Young RN, Ben Jeffrey RN, Melinda Ketelsen RN, Dean Ketelsen, Jenny Koch RN, and Roger Ceragioli. While you would think that having all of these Nurses would have been an advantage in the event of a snake bite or other injury - we all are NICU Nurses, so not in the habit of working on people older than about 6 months old!

Early in the evening we enjoyed looking at Venus and Mercury (the crescent getting skinnier by the day). You can easily see Venus in the background of this picture of Vanessa looking through the C-14 (and Mercury faintly visible "through" Roger's head as he moved). We actually watched Venus as it set behind the mountains, looking much like a very bright sodium vapor street light before blinking out. It was a good night for showing the planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn (with three moons visible), and of course - Earth (duh)! We were also able to show off the Orion Nebula, Crab Nebula, as well as various galaxies and open and globular star clusters.

Here, Roger is giving Vanessa a 'sky tour', using a green laser to point out Aldebaran and the Hyades...then 'connecting the dots' to form Taurus. In addition to Dean's C14, we also set up an 8" telescope and had a pair of binocs for easier viewing of the Pleiades. Even though it was dark of the moon, there is significant sky glow at TIMPA. That makes it difficult to observe some of the fainter objects. It was a good starting point, though, for dipping ones toes into the wading pool of the Universe!

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I've finally made it on to your blog once more! Thanks again for you and Dean making it such a great night for me. Gotta love those stars. Now when I see Orion's Belt in Quincy I will always think of you guys! Thanks again. Love and hugs Vanessa xx