Astronomy Day 2003

We celebrated National Astronomy Day 2003 along with our perennial partners at the W.A. Gayle Planetarium  on Saturday, May 10.  The date was somewhat later than in years past. Setting up the telescopes gave us a very warm feeling -- outside.  Planetarium director, Rick Evans again ordered up mostly clear skies for the day.  Despite being Mother's Day weekend, we had an estimated crowd of about 200 who enjoyed the evening's agenda:
5:00 PM - Public Viewing of telescopes provided by Auburn Astronomical Society.
6:00 PM - Guest Speaker    Mitzi Adams  Solar Scientist, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center   (Bio
6:40 PM - Intermission
6:50 PM - Remarks from Auburn Astronomical Society President (Dr. Rhon Jenkins)
7:00 PM - "Tour of the Night Sky"
7:30 PM - Columbia Tribute
7:45 PM - Door Prize selection
8:00 PM - Telescopic celestial viewing 
Special thanks to those who made time in their weekend to share their telescopes and knowledge of the night sky: 
Alan and Susie Cook 10-inch Meade SCT
Allen Screws 8-inch Orion reflector 
Rhon and Joyce Jenkins 18-inch StarMaster Dobsonian
Jim McLaughlin 8-inch LX 200 and  80mm refractor
Robert Rock Meade ETX 90
Gail & Marvin Smitherman 127mm Starmax 
Scott Thompson 7-inch Astro-Physics refractor
Russell Whigham 11-inch Celestron SCT
Ricky Wood 12-inch LX200 Meade SCT

Thanks to Brent Holman and David Wayne Key for returning this year with Ricky and Scott, as well as AAS friends, Nicole Long and Laura Kelly who made surprise visits. Bill Blankley was on his way to Alaska, but sent several different handout items.

Eddie Kirkland had to cancel at the last minute with a bad cold, while Everett Leonard was unable to bring his telescope because an injury sustained while attempting to carry in down his apartment stairs.  We hope both you guys recover fully and soon.

We also want to acknowledge a visitor, and potential member, Paul Williamson, who showed up with his 120ST AstroView refractor.

And finally, our annual huge thank you to Rick Evans, director of the W.A. Gayle Planetarium, for providing the drinks and sandwiches, for having the switch on the outside light installed, and for his tireless efforts to ensure a great turn-out for this event.

Early visitors arrived while we were still setting up --  at first, just to see the wide variety of telescopes on display, and later to get a close-up look at the filtered Sun thanks to Scott and Gail, and a preview of the Moon in daylight through the others.  Following the presentations inside, visitors returned to the telescopes and a darkening sky, to view Saturn, Jupiter, and details on the Moon in full contrast. 

All of the AAS "Frequently Asked Questions" hand-outs were taken and we have several new names added to our e-mail list.

Seeing the expressions and hearing the exclamations of the parents and children after their first look through a telescope, makes it all worthwhile.

AAS president, Rhon Jenkins, putting the finishing preparatory touches his 18-inch StarMaster. Scott Thompson desrcibes his 7-inch AstroPhysics refractor to an envious Astronomy Day visitor.
Allen Screws demonstrates his spectroscope.  Allen was manning the society's 8-inch loaner telescope. Alan Cook readies his 10-inch Meade SCT
A view up one side of Telescope Alley Viewing a heavenly body
David Wayne and Scott at the AAS information table Rhon visits with Gail and Marvin Smitherman