Green Lake Park Star Party

Default event

Open to Public

Type: Star Party

Keywords: Star Party

Held on: Jul 13, 2013 (Sat) at 10:00 PM to Jul 14, 2013 (Sun) at 12:00 AM

Sunset Times:

  • Official at 09:05 PM
  • Civil at 09:44 PM
  • Nautical at 10:36 PM
  • Astronomical at 11:50 PM

Location: 47.680880, -122.341411

Event Coordinator: Mary Anderson

Join us to look up and enjoy the evening sky. Open to the public.

Map

Latitude 47.68088, Longitude -122.341411

Notes

Another great Green Lake Star Party last night was favored by unusually clear Seattle skies, and I'm certain it will long be remembered by all who attended. After June's last perfect star party, I figured the rain and clouds would make an inevitable comeback; but due to a rare ocurrence of great Seattle weather in two consecutive months, once again we enjoyed ideal conditions last night: clear skies (even better than June's skies), balmy temperatures, and no wind. Again a huge crowd of very enthusiastic people turned out for this star party, making it a replay of the very enjoyable experience offered by the June star party. I would estimate that the crowd numbered between 70 and 100 people although I was so busy with answering questions and giving explanations that it was impossible to make a really accurate count.

Last night I asked most with whom I talked and shared my telescope how they learned about the star party event. Without exception they said they had learned of it from the SAS Web site. We had suspected last month that the greatly increased turnout was due to the Web site, but now I have documentation to support that suspicion. The outstanding work of Ward, the prime creator of the Web site, and others who contributed to it is really having an impact on the health and vitality of SAS outreach events. Again, I extend to Ward profound thanks and praise for his great work on that Web site which will have a lasting effect in supporting all SAS star parties and other activities.

In addition to the increased size of the star party last night, I also noticed in the crowd at the June star party and last night's star party a generally more intense interest in learning about astronomy in addition to viewing through the telescope. There were the usual ooh's and aah's elicited by the moon and Saturn, but at these past two star parties there were also prolific questions about what they were seeing. One little boy, visiting from Houston, was especially enthralled and amazed as he stated with great certainty that the many objects we were viewing and discussing, with the exception of the moon, could not be seen in Houston skies! I had to hope that's not because light pollution in Houston is even greater than that in Seattle! In addition to this little boy's questions, for about three hours I was surrounded by groups of people for whom telescopic views of the universe were not enough. Many seemed more interested in talking about astronomy and listened intently as I explained elements of observing, pointed out constellations, explained differences in magnitude and types of stars, and offered suggestions for buying a first telescope. If this thirst for knowledge continues to characterize star party crowds, I'm thinking I need to try to anticipate questions and prepare a more organized presentation since I would like to offer the crowds in addition to telescopic views a foundation for continued interest in and individual exploration of astronomy in conformity to our SAS mission and goals.

But the emphasis as usual was really on telescope use, and the opportunity for telescope viewing was very strong and diverse last night because of a great turnout of SAS members with telescopes for which I am very thankful! There's no way I could have handled that crowd alone! I think we had six telescopes of varying types, including my refractor, at least four Dobs, and possibly one more refractor, although I am not sure about that because I was unable to view through other telescopes since I was just too busily engaged in interacting with the crowds around my telescope. Before the crowds arrived, however, I was able to get a great view of the moon through the 12" Lightbridge truss Dob brought by Greg. As usual the moon was the star of the show until it retired behind the trees and yielded its command to Saturn. We also observed Albireo, M13, the Ring Nebula and more! I offer deepest gratitude and appreciation to all who brought their telescopes and offered the crowd a great star party: Greg, Mike D., Jim, Wei, and Chuck. Also, Mike H. brought binoculars and a stack of star charts which he disseminated to the crowd. Thanks to all of you! And if I have inadvertently left anyone out or otherwise distorted the facts, I will appreciate any corrections.

As the memorable star party drew to a close around midnight, we momentarily thought that the "unidentified flying object" experience of the June star party was recurring when someone spotted mysterious lights appearing above the northeast end of Green Lake. Despite the shortlived excitement It was quickly determined that these mysterious lights were probably due to "flying" lanterns that had been released by an unknown source. Although these "unidentified flying objects" couldn't compare in astronomical authenticity with the fireball that visited our June star party, in all other respects last night's star party was an unforgettable success and very enjoyable experience!

Thanks again to all who helped to make the star party a great success!
Mary

Summary

Number of Supporters: 7

Number of Attendees: 100

Number of Telescopes: 6

Duration (hours): 3.0

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