Astronomy Day 2009

I think that Astronomy Day in Montgomery was very successful, despite mostly cloudy skies most of the evening.  The crowd may have been a little smaller than usual, but the folks that came seemed truly interested in astronomy.  Folks began coming in around 4pm.  Most of our guys had their equipment set up by that time.  Though it was hazy, it was possible to get glimpses of the moon.  Several people brought their personal telescopes and wanted to know how to use them.  Several more wanted to know how to choose a telescope.  The three NASA speakers showed up and had very good presentations.  I think Rick was very pleased at the way the evening went. 

Here are the names and e-mail addresses of the people who wanted on our mailing list.

Rebecca Croley 
Rebekah Medlen 
Debra Kinman 
William Naron 
Charlie Dubin 
Mills Thornton 
Brenda Thornton 
Michael Pastorett 

Michael was the winner of the free membership.  He is 14 years old, but impressed everyone with his enthusiasm about astronomy.  He jumped out of his seat when I announced his name at the end of the program.  He definitely wants to attend the meetings. 

Rhon Jenkins, president AAS

The Auburn Astronomical Society in partnership with the  W. A. Gayle Planetarium, celebrated National Astronomy Day at the planetarium in Oak Park in Montgomery, on Saturday, May 2.  Thanks to the following volunteers to help with Astronomy Day this year. 

  • Ray Kunert , Takahashi Sky 90 refractor
  • Mike Holley,  Celestron CPC11, SCT; EXT-70
  • Gail Smitherman, 127mm Maksutov 
  • Jim Garner, 8” Meade SCT 
  • Stephanie Doss, photographer
  • Rhon Jenkins,  Being Rhon Jenkins
  • Jim McLaughlin, 8-inch Meade SCT
  • Frank Ward,12-inch Dobsonian
  • Elliot Errera, AAS 8-inch Dobsonian
Thanks as well, to the many visitors who brought their personal telescopes.  Finally, as always,  special thanks to Rick Evans for providing the wonderful facility, doing all of the promotion, and securing the speakers from Marshall Spaceflight Center.

This year’s agenda:

3:00PM:  AAS members and friends began setting up telescopes.

4:00PM: Early visitors were able to view the eight-day-old Moon, and the Sun in the light of hydrogen-alpha with the AAS PST solar scope, and members’ scopes filtered white-light images.

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

6:00 PM: Marshall Space Flight  presentations: “The Universe: Yours to Discover, From the Solar System to the Biggest Explosions in the Universe: the Stellar Cycle of Life"

  • Mitzi Adams, NASA/MSFC
  • Dr. Barbara Cohen,  NASA/MSFC
  • Dr. Alexander van der Horst, NASA/MSFC/ORAU
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. 

7:27PM:  Sunset

8:00 PM:  The guests came out to view Saturn, its rings and its moons; the mountains and craters of the eight-day-old Moon.   The Moon will be one day past first quarter, making the “Straight Wall” and lunar highlands an impressive view.

Thanks to Stephanie Doss for all of the photos and captions!

Setting Up

Gail is up and ready to go

James setting up

Frank sets up

Ray getting into position

Elliot sets up

Mike's ready to go

Welcoming the Visitors

IYA 2009 cake

Gayle Planetarium cake

Planetarium hallway

Joyce at the AAS information table

Rhon and Ray with visitors

Rhon continues to work the crowd..JPG

Registration table..JPG

Kids craft table

Katie made several buttons at craft table

Rhon talks with ladies

James explains scope & binoculars to day Roy and son

Frank enlightens some youth

James & Rhon looking for Saturn possible location

James helps Pete learn how to use his new telescope

James (Cub Master and Weebelos leader) answers 
questions and helps troop 307 with merit badges 

Elliot lines up scope and Rhon continues discussion

Rhon shares some knowledge

Elliot shares his scope

Mike has a discussion with viewers

Hurry folks while to clouds are open

This little star gazer wanted to be photographed!

James shares binoculars and scope with viewers

Oh no, the clouds are coming

Charlie, Celia & Jacob take a look thru Jims' scope

Stephanie takes a picture thru James' scope

Come on Ray you can find it!

Frank helps this little one take a peek

Troops ready to view the moon and saturn await the go ahead to view

Gail and the troop checking out the night skys

Sorry folks, nothing but clouds right now

Elliot continues to explain and share his scope

Night vision with digital camera

Thanks to Stephanie Doss for all of the images on this page.