On 31 May, Santa Fe Stargazers Tom Aldern, Brad Jones, & Robert Powers provided – and were provided! – an evenings entertainment Star Gaze to campers and visitors at Villanueva State Park. Robert brought his beautiful, new 14” latticed Dob; Tom, his trusty 10” Dob; and Brad his tried-and-true 11” SCT. The outreach campsite was large one which, owing to scheduling confusion, was also shared by a large church group with their cars, trucks, campers, horse trailers, (>shudder<) car headlights and high-intensity flashlights flashing here, there, and everywhere.
The up-side was the opportunity to reach a larger group than might otherwise have been the case; the down-side was that, with all the other activity, the number of “eyes-on-glass” was small for the numbers present.
The site was great for the ‘scopes: the campsite elevation shielded the observers from other campsites below and gave clear horizons. The sky itself was showed a small light dome toward the NNW (Santa Fe impact) but was reasonably dark elsewhere. Seeing was average, but transparency was great.
Big hits included Scorpius, with Jupiter and the Globular Cluster M4; the Leo Triplet (M65/M66 & NGC3628); Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy (M81/82); the Ring (M47); and the Great Hercules Globular Cluster M13.
One special part of the evening came near the end as the crowds thinned. Brad was working a last, small group – a multi-generational group of family and friends. As Brad would spin a tall tale, a young enthusiastic gent would translate for Brad to his older family and friends: a wonderful moment of real-time outreach-inspired outreach, crossing language and generations.