Sidewalk Astronomy Mar 19-20, 2010

2010_ISANFrom St. Albert, Sharon Tansey reported “We had 2 successful nights in St. Albert. Last night was an absolute joy: just the most interested families, kids, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Eventually, I handed my telescope over to one teeanger who managed to do the readjusting for me while I talked to people. Another 10 year old almost got it pointed at Saturn.”

From the Victoria Promenade, Larry Wood reported “Franklin, Bruce and I set up at 119 st despite the coolish weather. The seeing was not great but the Moon at low power was nice.

The Moon when about 4 days old puts on quite a display, showing the craters with any depth looking like dark ovals on the Moon surface. This is a result of the Sun angle hitting the Moon surface at a relatively low angle allowing us to only see the shadow darkened walls from our perspective here on Earth. The high contrast give an unusual view of the Lunar surface — watch for it next month. Mars was just a butterscotch ball with a hint of a NP cap and very faint hints of dark regions. In the three hours I was set up we had about a dozen visitors stop for a look.

Then on Saturday night as I came out of work at 9:30 Dave Robinson was there and wanted to see if I was going to set up again, so with clearing skies I agreed. Well it was worth it as the seeing was much improved in 24 hours and the Moon and Mars were very clear in the 12.5″ Newt. Mars showed a nice polar cap and Mare Acidalium abuting the cap, Meridiani & Margaritifer were faint dark areas. Nice, but Mars is getting quite small now.

The seeing deteriorated before Saturn was high enough to get a good look.

With the nicer weather we had about 20 visitors tonight in 2 hours.”