On Saturday, October 5th, the Santa Fe Stargazers and the Vista Grande Public Library (VGPL), along with astronomical organizations worldwide, celebrated the Fall Astronomy Day. The celebration with local Santa Fe residents kicked-off with presentations, demonstrations and various static displays in the VGPL meeting room. Participating children and adults then moved to the parking lot and enjoyed H-alpha and white light solar views under warm clear skies. Additional curious general library visitors also enjoyed the viewing. While we are currently experiencing a solar minimum, it was noted that solar observing is a unique astronomical component and the Stargazers were challenged to expand this type of observing outside of Astronomy Day. After a well-deserved break, the Stargazers set up an array of Dobsonians, SCTs, refractors and mounted binoculars for the evening Stargaze. Observing conditions were good (clear skies, warm temperatures, excellent transparency, average seeing) with lunar, major planet, and various deep sky objects as prime targets. The International Space Station even made a brief “flyby” to the delight of a younger visitor. While nighttime attendance was light, each attendee observed a wide variety of astronomical objects providing a comprehensive introduction to the night sky.
Organizing and executing such an ambitious program provided excellent experience for future Stargazer outreach events and special programs. The Santa Fe Stargazers deeply appreciate the active collaboration and support from the VGPL. We look forward to teaming with the VGPL for many future events.