Star gaze at Barnyard School (2009 Oct 31)
Seventeen Star Gazer's Club members and friends gathered under mostly cloudly skies at Barnyard School on Saturday for an evening of astronomy.
Arrival-times were somewhat staggered, partially because of the rugby on TV but by nightfall everyone had settled in and were snacking on picnic goodies.
In the old barn a make-shift table was set up and seven planispheres were constructed. The start of Callisto's shadow transit across Jupiter briefly interrupted the planisphere building, which resumed with a brief "how-to" and some pointers on estimating angular sizes. A surprise competition – estimate the angular separation between Acrux and Achernar – was won by Letitia, whose estimate of 61° came closest to the correct value of 58.9°, earning her a Hubble Anniversary DVD.
In an open field outside the barn, five telescopes were set up: Richard's 12-inch Dobsonian, Ed & Lynnette's 10-inch ("Lorenzo"), Martin's 9-inch GOTO-SCT and 8-inch Dobsonian (manned by Ernst and Letitia), and "Palesa", a 5-inch Newtonian operated by Wilhelm.
The bright Moon (surrounded by a 40° halo) and a layer of thin cloud nevertheless permitted views of several bright deep sky objects.
Mosquitoes and midges had everyone who didn't bring Peaceful Sleep jittering, but it was the dew that finally drew the evening to an early close when, at 22:45, telescopes were being packed up.
Special thanks to Lynette Labuschagne of Barnyard School for the use of the venue.
nothing more to see. please move along.