Waterberg Planetary Festival (2009 Aug 21-22)
by Kos Coronaios
Clear skies, scopes galore, the Moon, planets followed by 'out of this world' images of deepsky objects were on the menu at this years Waterberg Planetary Festival.
Philip Calcott and his team treated just under 300 adults and children over the two evening with wonderful views via imaging cameras of various stellar objects projected onto big screens, all in real time.
Over the two evenings, occultations of two of Jupiter's moons, Europa and Io, were observed as well as a transit.
On the second evening Oleg Toumilovitch's 5-inch refractor easily squeezed in the two day old Moon showing the unlit portion bathed in Earth-shine as the various features were pointed out. Views near the terminator panned slowly accross the screen with my 10-inch, that had a 2x Barlow attached to the camera and 3x digital zoom, as Simon lined up Saturn in the 8-inch for the next part of the show.
As always, Phil's presentation (which this time also included Galileo's achievements to commemorate IYA 2009) had everyone glued to their seats while Simon's showing of the various constellations after the supper break had the audience twisting and turning in their seats as they followed the laser pointer.
Festival highlights included views of the Ring Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula, and M83 as they appeared on the screen in full colour.
At the end of Philip's presentation the public were invited to share views through the eyepiece at the various scopes with Oleg, Simon and myself.
Jupiter, Omega Centauri, Centaurus A and more, were all revisited and other deepsky objects such as the Helix and Saturn Nebulae that were not shown on the big screens could also be seen.
Can't wait for next year's one.
More photos can be browsed on Oleg's Waterberg Planetary Festival page.
nothing more to see. please move along.