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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Dec 3, 2012 11:53:02 GMT -6
Chicago Park District and Chicago Astronomer
The next joint Chicago Park District and Chicago Astronomer Star Gazing session will be at Horner Park ( 2741 West Montrose Avenue) on Tuesday, the 4th of December 2012 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Will will set-up equipment in the northern half of the park, look for the astronomer crew north of the field house (1)...or at the top of the circular mound (2)...where Chicago Astronomers often enjoy claiming for a evening of scope time.
Weather looks good for the gathering of park visitors, telescopes and celestial delights. (Weather presently well above normal temps...yes!!!) Jupiter will be the highlight of the evening, but other interesting deep space targets will be shared with our visitors.
And as always....these events are free and open to the public of all ages.
Stop by on Chicago's northwest side on a warm fall night for scopes and stars...
Been having alignment issues, so I am going to try to get there at 6pm and get set up early so I can be properly polar aligned for once.
Uhh, front North of the field house is flooded. Figured top of the hill is a bit of a lug. If we set up just south of the field house, I think that's the ticket. If I said north, which I think I did, I was wrong, but pic was right. Also, hiking up the hill is a chore with gear. I do it, but it is a PITA. I think just SOUTH of the field house slightly up the hill is the ticket. Hill will block lights from the baseball fields and field house will block lights from the Montrose area. We'll get some people out for their evening constitutional. That's where I'm gonna set up.
SORRY FOR MISCOMMUNICATION!
Last Edit: Dec 4, 2012 13:34:00 GMT -6 by patrickm
My brothers Kent and Mark treated me to lunch today for my birthday in the far out suburbs. I told Kent about the star party at Horner Park, since he lives near the park. Kent and his girlfriend Kristy plan to be there.
I would come too, but tonight is the night for township political caucuses in Illinois. Those are like party primaries, except nominations are made quickly by the small number of people who choose to attend. No signature gathering; no primary election. It’s like the old time “smoke filled” rooms, although no one smokes anymore. Since they slated me for my recent unsuccessful bid for state representative, I really must attend. Shame on suburbanites who don’t.
It looks like clear skies tonight and fairly warm, unlike the birthdays of my youth. Enjoy the sky show. Please treat Kent and Kristy well.
My brother Kent tells me he had a good time with you folks tonight. He enjoyed seeing Patrick again and meeting Joe. As you may have learned, Kent is rather knowledgeable about astronomy. Sorry I missed the event due to the political caucus. They wanted me to run for township supervisor, but I declined.
Kent suggested star parties at Turner Camp, perhaps beginning in the spring. He has a small summer cottage at the German-American resort community on this side of the Fox River between Algonquin and Fox River Grove. Barrington Hills lies to the southeast. We’ve been going there since childhood for the best times of our lives. The camp’s Ratskeller serves marvelous German food and beer at quite reasonable prices. Turner members take turns as waiters, bartenders and musicians.
The advantage for astronomy is the incredibly clear skies compared with Chicago or its immediately surrounding suburbs, while not really far from the city. There are no street lights, so flashlights are needed while walking at night. Think about it.
Last Edit: Aug 21, 2013 16:55:27 GMT -6 by Centaur
I had a really great time. Joe said that we had 75 people looking through our four scopes!
Of course Jupiter was the biggest it of the evening, but I also targeted Andromeda Galaxy directly overhead with M32 also visible, Double Cluster, Hyades, Aldebaran, Pleiades, Uranus, Starfish Cluster, Pinwheel Cluster, M37, and the Blue Snowball Nebula.
I got polar aligned for the first time all year and what a difference it made. We had a Northwestern grad student on hand who was doing audio interviews with us. At the end of the night as we were starting to pack up, a member of the Horner Park Advisory Council peddled up and took a few peeks.
I only got one picture during the night, and it's this weird one. I was so busy guiding and yacking away that I forgot to take pics. Sure that Joe has a bunch. I'm still seeing his flash.
The clouds moved out right on time. The skies were better than advertised and the weather was lovely for an early December Chicago evening. I hope we get to do one in Horner again soon with more lead time and warmer weather.
Also, Kent is still funny.
Last Edit: Dec 5, 2012 14:59:20 GMT -6 by patrickm
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Dec 5, 2012 18:29:51 GMT -6
Horner Park success.....
We always hate to re-schedule a Star Gazing session with the Park District..and so it was a wonderful weather gamble that we were treated to clear skies and decent temps, (for December)...and attended to a great many smiling Horner Park visitors...
Joining us for this session were Chicago Astronomers Bill - with his Vixen Refractor, Patrick - with his 9.25 HD SCT....and my C11 Beast. Chicago Astronomer support crew were Barbara and Maria attending to our guests. Also joining the crew was Barry and his C11 on a fork mount...
With four scopes, there were no shortage in targets to observe...with Jupiter being that most requested object to view. Here below is Patrick...with some ectoplasm about him...
The evening started out warm and comfortable and a great evening of observation lay before us...
We were bouncing around from Jupiter, to the Orion Nebula to open star clusters and discussion astronomy, cosmology and all things space...
Above, fellow Adler Telescope Operator Linda stopped by with friend and spent time with us.
And...Jessica...from the Medill News Service, stopped by to interview Astronomers about this event and urban astronomy...her report will be available soon.
And we continue...
What a nice treat.
We met Chicago Astronomer Forum member Curt's, (Centaur), brother - Kent during our session. We had a nice chat and hope he joins us again. An invite to darker skies was offered, (See above post)...and let's plan for this in the spring of 2013...
Many of our visitors were extremely nice, polite and thanked us for coming out and setting up scopes for them. Using the tablet and laser pointers...we guided our visitors across the Chicago sky...
Sarah, our Program and Event Facilitator for the Nature Oasis was on-site and pleased at our attendance - which was 70 visitors for this session...!
After the crowds thinned out, it was just Patrick, Maria and I...and we spent some quiet time enjoying celestial objects. I took the opportunity to take some images of Jupiter...
But the next images of M42 is probably the best I have captured with the fixed lens of the Canon Powershot S3 camera...
First, taken through the 90mm Meade Refractor that sits on the C11...provides a nice wide angle FOV, capturing the hint of the gas cloud.
But it's with the grand aperture of the C11 that the true glory of the nebula shines...
With the Zhumell Light Pollution filter, it improves the contrast nicely and deepens the colors with only a 8 to 10 second exposure. (We were on a slight incline at the park, so my tracking was slightly off...and started to show star trails at 10 seconds.)
Also, this was the first shake-out test of the new Orion Tripod leg lights...
I had them on slow flash and I think they performed well. Not obtrusive, but along with the footpad lights, highlighted the tripod with a soft glow of awareness. I like 'em.
The temps dropped and the winds picked up...making it quite cold now...and around 10:30 pm...we all packed up and left the park...satisfied with a great star gazing session at Horner...and with a gibbous Moon rising...