National Astronomy Day 2007

National Astronomy Day 2007 featured the public debut of the Jim & Gwen Plunkett Observatory and the Panarusly Telescope. We had clear skies and cool, but not frigid, temperatures. Approximately 100 guests were there for Astronomy Day and another 30 attended the observing session held the previous night.

Gene DuPree set up an 80mm refractor with a 40mm Coronado H-Alpha filter. Everyone got a very nice view of the prominences and other deailts on the Sun.

Sister has her turn at the H-Alpha telescope. We let people take good long looks through these telescopes, so they can adapt themselves a bit to the view. It usually doesn’t take any encouragement to get people to linger at the eyepiece.

Many people are suprised that you can view Venus during the day. Adults usually have a harder time believing it that kids do!

This is one of the signs we had for our old observatory 20 years ago. It was great to see it out again, directing people to their first views of the heavens in a large telescope.

The Celestron 9.25″ SCT was the second scope running in the observatory. It did a great job keeping people engaged while waiting for the “big scope” to open up.

Kevin Bert sets the solar-filtered Celestron on the Sun while Joe Reimbold looks on.

Kevin Bert makes a last-minute check of the Panarusky Telescope and it’s Sky Commander digital setting circle system before the sun sets.

Carol Nelson is the “mom” who is always around, manning the information table and pointing out the telescopes and activities to guests.

In addition to the observatory, we had over a dozen telescopes set up on Astronomy Day.

We lined both sides of the south parking lot with scopes!

The scene at dusk. People were walking up and down the parking lot, over and over again. Members did a great job showing all different kinds of celestial objects through the variety of instruments we had assembled that night.

An astronomy talk was given by Jeff Setzer before it became too dark. This was our first time using the outisde patio as a “theater” and it worked out very well.

The Panarusky Telescope provided very nice views of Saturn well before it got dark.

The view of the parking lot from the observatory patio. We had a few thin clouds during the early evening but they didn’t interfere with observing.

Everywhere you walked, you could hear the muted sounds of conversations between NCSF members and guest. Astronomy was truly in the air that night!