Black River Astronomical Society and The Internation Sidewalk Astronomy Night

Since the regularly scheduled ISANight was clouded out we chose tonight for the event.
We had a youth group from Lorain at the Observatory. Tim Kreja and Jim Cunningham helped  our guests
through the Nielson Observatory and offered them some spectacular views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn
through the C-14.

  

  
Dave Lengyel and I set up our scopes outside. Dave demonstarated a lo-tech setup using an 8" f/4.5 Dob
while I went for shock and awe with an "8 f/6.3 SCT and an 80mm F/5.0 on a goto mount.  While observers
were looking through the 8" scope those waiting in line could watch the video monitor which was caturing
video from the 80mm refractor.

  

  

The group was quite large but very well behaved, gracious and attentive. We heard lots of "Oooohs and Aaaaahs."
In addition to the 30some students and the counselers, probably a couple of dozen "Hams" stopped in also.
The NOARS Amateur Radio Club was celebrating their annual Field Day event close by the Nielson
  

It never really got quite clear out.  The upside of this was a lot of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. A small moondog
appeared and eventally became a full halo with a large spike. Here's the money shot.............


After the "lightweights" went home Tim K and I set out to try and capture some images through the C-14. We wanted
to see how well the new focal reducer worked for photographic work.

First, the clouds never did go away so we shot through them.
Second, there appears to be a problem with the C-14 drive.
Even at f/6.3 we could not get round stars.

M57 - The Ring Nebula, Shot Prime Focus on The Nielson C-14. Canon 30D at ISO 1600 @ 20 seconds

The image (left) at f/6.3 doesn't look too awfully bad at low magnification.  However, zoom in and you can see the
 stars are all trailed. The stars in the photo at right are trailed even w/out magnification, resulting in a very poor image.

  

Here's Jupiter at f/6.3 and at F/10 with a 3x barlow

  

So, in summary, we had a great time......................

We introduced our hobby to today's youth, fullfilling our obligation to The Sidewalk Astronomers and complying with our constitution.

We got to see an unusual transient astronomical event in the Moondog Spike.

And lastly we got spend some time under dark skies together.

Tim  and I finally locked up and headed for home at about 3:00am. I can't wait to do it again!