Another clear Friday night with even better viewing conditions than the first star party the week before led to another great night. Despite a smaller number of sign-ups we had a crowd at least as big, if not bigger than the 60+ people that came the prior week. The age ranged of attendees stretched from 4 to 70. Attendees were very enthusiastic, people probably stayed on average for an hour or more. More than a few kids had to be dragged away by their parents.
Like the week before, we started on Saturn and Mars early, before they set (Battis has clear horizon to the west). Though fuzzy due to atmospheric turbulence, Saturn’s rings were clearly visible, along with Titan. From there scopes where put on a large assortment of double stars, open clusters, globular clusters, nebula, and galaxies. A number of bright meteors were also seen between 8:30 and 9:00 – I spotted 4, which was kind of surprise given the early hour and we weren’t specifically watching for them – though we were looking up a lot.
I set up my solar system model along the dirt road from the parking lot to the observing area to provide a scale of the solar system (see the picture of Saturn and Moon) but a number of planet’s batteries ran out not long after dark. A low fog settled in to parts of the field and by 10 the dew was pretty heavy. Unlike the prior Friday there wasn’t a layer of frost/ice on everything, and again there were almost no bugs and (unlike the spring event) no crazed guman in the woods.
After packing up a couple of us retreated to the Ale House in Amesbury for some food and beverage before heading home.
A huge thanks goes out to club members Dan Smoody, Kevin Hocker, Dick Luecke, John Brucker, and Mark Salvetti for supporting this event.