(Written by Nelson Tilden)
We had our largest ever star party last night thanks in large measure to the leadership of professional astronomer Chuck Dugan and his assistant, Reid. By two different counts over 40 people attended. We also thank five club members for bringing telescopes: Bob Weirather, Eric Brown, Dave Thompson, Jim Kosbaugh and myself. Chuck Dugan brought “Sue” his magnificent 11.5″ Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.
Chuck led the group in a very interesting binocular session featuring double stars, the double crescents of the moon and the planet Mercury, the double spiral galaxies of M81 and M82 in Ursa Major, the “twins” Pollux and Castor in Gemini, along with two other open star clusters in Gemini. The attendees got great views of Jupiter and all four of its major moons.
Attendees also got to see good views of the Big Dipper in Ursa Major and an unusually good view of the two brightest stars in the Little Dipper. Also in Ursa Major, we got to see Alcor and Mizar, the “double star” making up the next to the last star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Cassiopeia was in full view sitting across on the opposite side of Polaris from Ursa Major.
Our next star party, and last scheduled one for the season, will be held on May 2. We will start observing around 7:30pm.
Final note: We will be holding a “make up” session of the Getting Started in Stargazing” group on April 27 in our usual Navajo room. Many of you missed that session due to multiple conflicts in the busy Sun City schedule. We will briefly review the basics of binoculars and binocular viewing and then go into some detail about telescopes – the different types, pros and cons of different types, the costs of each, accessories needed and more. We will have all three different kinds of telescopes on display. We will end with an open forum and Q and A session about any of the subjects covered this year.
Ron’s Note: Anyone interested in being part of Nelson’s Stargazer group can “Get Started” by using the Contact Us part of this site.