Glacier Point Yosemite public star party event
I posted this over on the owners group and thought I should post here as well.
The Perseids Meteor Shower is peaking around the 13th and 14th of August. Look up folks if you're out in the boon docks.
If you are in Yosemite you might want to take a drive up to Glacier Point to check out the night sky and look through a telescope. This is a great event for kids or adults to experience a chance to look through some really nice equipment. Rik Damin asked about the event where I posted:
Every year from late June to early September various astronomy groups are allowed to drive out on Glacier Point to set up telescopes for the public. The park service supplies free bus service from the valley floor to Glacier point. You can also drive to the point yourself and join the event. Typically the proceedings start at dusk where a ranger usually takes the public group out to the point and uses a laser pointer to discuss basic astronomy and what to expect. While the ranger is doing that, the club members are setting up equipment preparing for the public group to join them after dark. In some cases a ranger will put on a slide show telling people about the universe, solar system, and deep sky objects that the members will have their telescopes pointed toward. Our group, (Pacific Astronomical Society) is one of the larger groups, who runs the slide show and event. Typically there are between 20-40 telescopes of all types and sizes which are open for kids through adults to look through. At our event last year, people were able to look through small telescopes costing no more than 300 dollars to some worth over 35,000. One gentleman had a large scope that required people to climb a ladder over 6 feet to reach the eyepiece. The public is welcome Friday and Saturday night but some members may have a few scopes setup prior to the weekend and most of us are willing to let you look through the scope. Early on, it might be possible to look through a solar scope and view the sun provided that specialized equipment is on hand.
Some general rules are:
>No smoking please.
>Avoid any beverage that might be spilled on the equipment.
>No bright flashlights. If you don’t have a red lens flashlight, cover it with a paper sack using a rubber band or cover it with red tape.
>Try not to grab the telescope. Each owner will instruct the public how to observe.
>Watch your step and control the kids. Just a slight kick to a tripod will throw some of the scopes off which requires several minutes to re-align the scope.
Don’t expect to see Mars as big as the Moon. Planets are small and difficult for some to see but just to be able to see the colors of Jupiter and see its Moons is really cool. Galaxies may seem small and insignificant but just knowing one of the closest is over 2 million light years away, it’s interesting that the light left that galaxy back then and is just hitting the earth (and your eye) at that moment. You’ll also be able to see star clusters that look like a glitter of broken glass, multiple star systems, as well as nebulae which may or may not show color.
But please don’t expect to see something like the pictures that are produced by the Hubble Space telescope. Those are time based images and the human eye just can’t resolve the bright colors seen in those types of pictures.
Astronomy is actually subtle but observing the Milky Way Galaxy from Glacier Point is nice in its self. Of course most SMB owners have been to places where the Milky Way shows itself but if you’re looking to purchase a scope, this is the place to be.
Unfortunately my van was broke into while at the dealership in Fresno while repairs were being made and now I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it. But for those in the area or who live close by, it’s still a fun event. Because the meteor shower peaks around the weekend, there is a possibility to see some large fireballs due to the amount of sky that is open to those on top of Glacier Point. You know you screwed up when you’re looking through a scope and 40 people yell…Ohoooo…Yep you just missed a big one.
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