Sidewalk Astronomy Apr 19-21, 2013

Sidewalk astronomy was difficult this year as the skies did not cooperate. Both Friday and Saturday were mainly cloudy, but Sunday evening proved to be very nice so thanks to Larry Wood and Murray Paulson, two locations had sidewalk astronomy.

Friday, Apr 19, 8:30 – 11 PM
This was cancelled due to clouds, but…
From St. Albert, Murray Paulson reported “Well, I set up with the assistance of an innocent bystander this evening and had a total of 5 visitors before it started to rain. Highlights were viewing the moon thru varying thicknesses of haze and cloud plus astrophotos on my smart phone. When I noticed raindrops on my phone’s screen, I packed up, again with the assistance of innocent bystanders, and fled the site.”

Saturday, Apr 20, 8:30 – 11 PM
Cancelled due to winter, however…
From St. Albert, Murray Paulson reported “Sharon Tansey & I setup at our usual spot behind St. Albert Place and were open from 9:15 to 11:30. We had a very enthusiastic young man & his father that made the night golden. Showed them the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn & R Leonis among other things. The seeing was great.

Sunday, Apr 21, 8:30 – 11 PM
Bonus evening due to clear skies, finally…
Larry Wood’s report from the Promenade:Arnold Rivera joined me for a evening of excellent views of the Moon and Jupiter and so-so views of Saturn that was low in the SE sky. We were kept quite busy from 9:00 til 11:30 as we had about 40 people drop by. Several stayed around for some time enjoying the lovely views, especially of the Moon. Dave Robinson and Bruce stopped by on their way home from the Oilers game (of course they lost — the Oilers — I mean). Bob Drew also made a couple of appearances.Arnold had his refractor and I had the 12.5″ Newtonian. The Moon was great at 95x for the whole view but was best at 250x looking at specific detail. And the detail was spectacular: Gassendi crater with all its rilles, central peak and varied height wall; horseshoe shaped Prinz crater wall and its associated rille; all the flooded craters around Bullialdus (especially the nice round Lubiniesky; Mons Gruithuisen Gamma, a lunar dome with its easily seen 900 meter diameter craterlet; and the Alpine valley with the bright sunlit wall and the shadowed sunward wall. The valley was quite easy to see despite the Sun angle being so high (5 days past being near the terminator.Someone asked how far you could see in a scope. I said at 400 miles you couldn’t see Chris Hadfield’s face as he flew over — And I looked up and there was the ISS just passing by the Moon. And no, we couldn’t see Chris’ face.