2013 July 6th Public Star Party at COE

Outreach events always ensure a great time for all involved. The forecast was partly cloudy for Saturday night, certainly doable to share the night sky with the public. I packed up the 16″ Dob and a cooler and set out to Canyon of the Eagles where our Austin Astronomical Society’s dark site it located – the Eagle Eye Observatory.


Our outreach chairperson for the AAS is Joyce Lynch (former AAS President) and she greeted the visitors while her husband, Jim, manned the observatory telescopes. The rest of us worked on observing lists, shared views with the visitors, and had imaging sessions. A quick guestbook count shows that around 130 visitors showed up despite the cloudy skies, including several children. They were all gathered in small groups, taking their turns at all the telescopes and binoculars that were sprawled across the observing field.

Joyce Lynch, AAS outreach chairperson

Joyce Lynch, AAS outreach chairperson

As for my part, I thoroughly enjoy teaching people how find objects in the sky by giving them quick instruction on how to use a planisphere, star atlas, and a Telrad, and then having them push the scope to the target. Along with that comes the opportunity to teach visitors how to use averted vision, awareness of light pollution and a bit about the objects they’re observing.

Soon the sky became nearly 90% overcast and the visitors slowly left the field to make their journeys home. As if on cue, the clouds dispersed again as we began packing up our telescopes. I contemplated staying longer until the realization hit me of how tired I was and knowing I that had a long journey ahead of me. Homeward bound it was.

Jim Lynch in the Eagle Eye Observatory performing outreach with visitors

Jim Lynch in the Eagle Eye Observatory performing outreach with visitors


~ by Erika Rix on July 7, 2013.

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