Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying out the TeleVue Eyepieces in the Southern Sky...and, The Stars of Entertainment before Television

In the wee hours of the early morning, the constellation , "The Southern Cross," appeared over the horizon in the East. There inside of it, one could see, "The Jewel Box," a sparkling set of colorful stars. Following an arc of stars above the Southern Cross to the left, Omega Centauri...a globular cluster that may appear as a fuzzy ball to the naked eye (...if you have great eye sight!), is a cluster of distinct, shiny stars. Well worth staying up, or setting the alarm clock earlier, these nighttime delights of the southern sky bring a childhood sense of wonder back into our lives. Of course, the blowing palm trees and the cool night air help, too. "Clear skies and sunny days," the astronomers wish each other. I wish them to you, too. Al and Judi Nagler's eyepiece loaner enabled a fantastic, star-filled evening for those attending the Winter Star Party.

Around the firepit, earlier in the evening, Bob Summerfield entertained and educated the young and young at heart with the exciting pre-television and electronic game evening activity of the stories of the constellations.
Following the pointer stars of the front Big Dipper (Ursa Major) to Polaris, to orient to the North and then following around the skies to other constellations, including Orion (and of course his belt...but Bob got the children laughing when he mentioned Orion's other garments), and Orion's weapons (to protect himself from Taurus (The bull about to charge into him). Orion couldn't fight the bull alone, so Sirius, his dog was nearby to help out, and the twins, Gemini (They go by Castor and Poloux), at the ready.

The lion appeared about to attack the Twins. Oh no! Quick, grab that frying pan (Another name for the Big Dipper) by the handle and bonk Leo on the head a few times to save Castor and Poloux.

Bob took his listeners around the Universe with a wonderful tale. He included many other parts to his story, like the ship with a, "poop deck," and how to remember where that was, and how it is now three constellations. His tale wove in the navigation star that many the satellites and space missions use for navigation, and the Seven Sisters, and importantly his night time story gave an important message on the difference between the science of astonomy and the pseudoscience of astrology. If you get a chance to hear Bob, don't miss it. (Check out the Summerfield's Astronomy to Go for your next event.)


Read more about how one astronomer first became interested in astronomy:

Links to Pictures---

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