August 30 Star Gaze at Fort Union National Monument

On 30 August, the Santa Fe Stargazers assisted the Fort Union National Monument in its final scheduled Summer Night Sky Astronomy Program event of the 2019 season.  In addition to the Fort Union Celestron 11 and 8 inch SCTs, Santa Fe Stargazers Jim Eagle and Tom Aldern provided attendees the opportunity to observe through Jim’s 76mm refractor and Tom’s 10” Dobsonian.  The roughly twenty public attendees were challenged by significant cloud cover with occasional clearing toward Scorpius and Sagittarius.  The astronomers worked quickly when conditions permitted to provide clear views of Jupiter, Saturn, M4 and M7 (Ptolemy’s cluster).  Attendees were patient and understanding of the observing conditions and thoroughly enjoyed the good views of the limited available objects.  Jim was also very effective in showing various constellations during partial gaps in the clouds with a laser pointer.  After the Stargazer telescopes were packed (as luck would have it), the small remaining attendees were treated to a brilliant Milky Way display under more typical Fort Union clear, dark skies and improved seeing.  Jim and Tom aided the Fort Union Rangers with M13, M57 and M31 observations.  While the Fort Union Summer events have concluded, we anticipate future support for two additional (unscheduled) Fall/Winter outreach events. Stay Tuned!

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