Here you will find the fruits of our hobby. Well, for Maria it is a hobby; for Roland it is closer to an obsession. Still, this is where you will find some of the fruits of that work. In March of 2000, we purchased an 8-inch Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian mount from Orion Telescopes, the SkyQuest XT8.
Using the telescope was a learning experience, especially since time and responsibilities did not allowed us to get to any star parties or meet members from any clubs in the area for nearly a year. Usenet news on sci.astro.amateur was a lifesaver. Most of the time we were viewing from our 3rd story porch in Queens (in the eastern part of New York City). Views to the west were compromised by massive light pollution from Manhattan and during the coldest months the city generates significant heat that ruins the seeing even as high as 60 degrees above the horizon. Still, there are plenty of things which can be seen with the 8-inch scope, or for that matter, with our 10x50 binoculars.
In October of 2002 we moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. We no longer have the 3rd floor porch, but the skies actually seem to be darker. Some of this is because we are near the water which means that in some directions there really is less light pollution. We've also acquired some camera equipment and a several telescopes as Roland has gone on a shopping spree (not really, it just kind of accumulates). At this point we have a couple of smaller scopes includeing a 90mm f/5 refractor, its bigger brother, a Orion 120ST 120mm f/5, and older Tasco 60mm f/11 (or so, not quite sure), and an Orion Apex 127mm. And since the imaging bug bit, I've acquired a Losmandy GM-8 mount with Gemini GOTO and an older "push-to" Mountain Instruments MI-250 mount. Storage is a problem, but having enough scopes for kids activities is not.
The first talk I attended had Steven Pruitt, a representative from Achieve Inc., and Juan Carlos Aguilar, from the Georgia Department of Education. I won't bore you with all my notes on the talk, but there were a couple of interesting points made which warrant some comments.
I spent three days at the NSTA STEM Expo in St. Louis last week and over the next few days, I'm going to try to do a few posts related to the sessions I attended and things I learned (and cool freebies I learned about on the web).This is the second year I've attended, and while most of the sessions were not, unsurprisingly, about astronomy, they were all relevant to science and science education which is an underlying theme for my interest in astronomy.
It's that time again. Actually, Globe At Night is running multiple campaigns, the first is going on right now, but there are others later in the year including later this month. Have a look. If you've never done this before, it's a great way of participating in a citizen science project, learning a little about astronomy, and a bit more about the impact of human activities on the environment.
Well, our post-Sandy migration is nominally complete at this point. Pictures and all.
Okay, we've finally managed to get the web site transferred, but pictures aren't yet working. Yeah, I know, what's the point of a photo web site without pictures. Sorry, I'm working on it.
This morning I managed to drag myself out for a pre-dawn walk/jog and enjoyed the view of a thin waning crescent moon east (below) a brilliant Venus. Higher up was Jupiter. The jog was nice, and the view was a nice extra bonus.
A couple of dozen folks showed up in Shore Road Park hoping to get a peek at Venus transiting the Sun today, but the weather did not cooperate. After setting up shortly after 5pm, I had to cover the equipment due to some light rain which passed through. Eventually the Sun peeked through a thin spot in the clouds long enough for me to get the (filtered) binoculars pointed at it and several people were able to get a brief look before the Sun disappeared back behind the clouds. Alas, that was it for the day. Around 7:20pm, I packed up.