Astronomy Day 2007

Saturday, April 21, was a beautiful clear spring day with temperatures in the mid-to-high 70's and with a mild breeze all afternoon and evening.  The Auburn Astronomical Society in partnership with the W. A. Gayle Planetarium, celebrated the tenth anniversary of their combined efforts in celebrating National Astronomy Day, at the planetarium in Oak Park in Montgomery. 

Planetarium director, Rick Evans', announcements on National Public Radio's WTSU (and satellite stations) and and nice article in the Montgomery Advertiser brought out an estimated crowd of 250 visitors for this year's event.  Rick is as good a host as he is a publicist.  Rick had name tags for us and later, pizza and soft drinks.   Rick also had a huge cake decorated with an image of the Andromeda Galaxy on it for the visitors to help celebrate our tenth year of cooperation.

The following were there with their scopes to help with Astronomy Day. 

  • Rhon & Joyce Jenkins  -- AAS's PST solar scope 
  • Alan & Susie Cook, 10-inch LX-50 SCT; 
  • Mike Holley & Donna  Celestron CPC11, 
  • Ray & Anne Kunert -- Meade LXD55 Refractor 
  • Tom & Julie McGowan 8-inch Homemade Reflector 
  • Allen & Christy Screws, AAS's 8-inch Dobsonian
  • Eddie Kirkland, 10-inch Dobsonian 
  • Scott Thompson 7-inch Astro-Physics refractor 
  • Russell Whigham, 11-inch f/10 SCT
  • Don & Kim Cluck, TeleVue NP-101 refractor
  • Scott & Rocio Roberts, 12-inch Orion Intelliscope Dobsonian
  • Shane & Mary Beth Bledsoe, 8-inch Meade LX200 SCT
  • Chuck Lewis, 10-inch Meade LX200 SCT 
Scopeless this year, but there for moral support were: 
  • Gail & Marvin Smitherman
  • John Tatarchuk 
  • Ben Hammond
  • Frank Ward
  • John Howard
  • Nichole Long
  • Rod Havens
Several visitors with scopes from a 60mm refractor, to a 12-inch Dobsonian showed up to help.  Scores of AAS information handouts, catalogs, and past issues of magazines were taken by our visitors. 

Our day's events included: 

3:00PM:  AAS members and friends began setting up telescopes.  Early bird visitors were able to view the four-day-old Moon, and the Sun in the light of hydrogen-alpha with the AAS PST scope, and members filtered white-light images.

5:00PM: Telescope Clinic was open for guests to bring their sick, disassembled, or otherwise malfunctioning telescopes for repair. 

6:00 PM: Planetarium show in the auditorium. 

7:00 PM: Rick presented  a "Tour of the Night Sky" in the planetarium, giving an overview of what the guests will see when they see when they step outside. 

8:00 PM:  The guests came out to view the planets Venus, Saturn, its rings and moons; the mountains and craters of the four-day-old Moon and binary stars. 

Many thanks to all who participated, and special thanks to Rick Evans for making this happen every year for the past decade.  It was great to visit with our old friends and make some new ones.  Below are some images of the day's activities: