View Full Version : Backyard Viewing Brings Out the Neighbors

2003-Mar-09, 02:40 AM
We've had for the most part cloudy nights here in Austin, Texas these past several days. That is until this evening. Thought it'd be great to pull out the 8" dobsonian and catch a look at the moon, Jupiter, whatever else I could grab here in the middle of town.

Out my apartment backdoor is an open yard by the pool, just about right for an hour or so of viewing. Within just moments of setting up the scope, a neighbor walks by. I invited him over for a looksee. Said this was the first time for him to look thru anything larger than a spotting scope. He was quite moved by the beauty of the moon tonight. Spent several minutes mesmerized by the craters/terminator.

I knew he had a couple of grade school kids so he sent them out. A few more joined us. Had a little class going for a bit between Jupiter and the moon. Others passed by and stopped for a look. By the end of it there had been about 15 neighbors maybe catching the skywatching bug. Well, at least until I bring out the scope again.

2003-Mar-09, 11:11 AM
A few years ago when we had a nice Lunar eclipse, I set our scope up in the front yard. The kids really got a kick out of seeing Saturn's rings. The neighbors stopped to talk.

I also remember when the comet Kohutek (?sp.)
was supposed to be visible many years ago. Lots of folks were out in the evening looking for it. If I remember correctly, we never did see it.


2003-Mar-09, 11:51 AM
I wish I could do that. I think it was down to -40 last week... forget bringing out the neighbours, I'd need to bring out the hot water after my hands got stuck to the tripod. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif
(My EAS (http://courses.eas.ualberta.ca/eas270/index.html) experience wants me to say that there's a trough (http://gfx.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/data/analysis/jac12_100.gif) coming down from the north that goes right over Edmonton. Taking a look at the Skew-T (http://twister.sbs.ohio-state.edu/upperair/skewt/wse.gif) diagram... makes me remember I always needed the book to figure those out. :-/)
In other words, the seeing is great, but I'll be inside anyways. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

2003-Mar-09, 01:44 PM
Nanoda, my sympathies. I am in the same boat. New scope, clear sky, -25 F. Your fingers get too cold to use the focuser very quickly.

2003-Mar-10, 09:43 AM
How can you even bring a telescope out when it's 25 or more below? That's cold enough to freeze the oil in your car if you forget to plug in the heater.

Actually, it's warmer here but we have about 60-70% of the time rain or clouds. And you get to see the auroras more often.

2003-Mar-10, 01:58 PM
It wasn't -25 when I set the scope up. That was earlier in the evening. -25 also freezes the lubricant in old people's joints I've learned.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: gethen on 2003-03-10 08:58 ]</font>

2003-Mar-11, 04:13 AM
When I set up in the front yard, I get a lot of different folks. I was out one spring night and a car stopped the driver stepped out and said his daughter wanted a look. Of course I said of course, expecting a 10-12 year old. She was 3! Start 'em young I always say. She wanted to see the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. All but the Moon had set already but she really liked looking at the creaters on the Moon.

I was amaized that she knew all those objects and that possibility they'd be up!