Reflections – December 2018

Published December, 2018 Reflector, Vol. 71, No. 1 Astronomy may not be my primary career, but it is indeed a passion. It is something that I have enjoyed since my first real exposure to it as a Boy Scout. Volunteering to be the new editor for Reflector is just one of several things that I do to make sure that I continue to have a regular and healthy dose of astronomy in my life. Making the transition from observing the night sky, alone and in the dark, to joining the bright and public astronomical community is only something that I have only recently done. Doing so has exposed me to the experiences and challenges of others who share this passion. When I think about my journey from Boy Scout to editor, I realize that I am fortunate. And I have also realized that others may not have been as fortunate as I have been. I never received much encouragement to explore and pursue astronomy, but I also did not need it. I had a natural passion and curiosity fueling my motivation to pursue it. While I might not have been encouraged to enjoy astronomy, I was never discouraged from doing … Continue reading Reflections – December 2018

Prepping Hal for the Wagon of Science

Hal, a mere Volkswagon Golf, cannot fit two telescopes, related astronomy gear, table, chair, and all of the outreach equipment used at club events. Thankfully, I now have a trailer for this purpose. But Hal needed to be equipped to pull it. Why do I call my car "Hal"? My car sends me messages letting me know when his hatchback is open, or sunroof is open or doors are open. And if there is rain in the forecast, Hal gets extra pissy about these things and lets me know.  When I get these messages on my phone, my inner monologue reads them in the voice of HAL 9000 in 2001 A Space Odyssey being methodically euthanized by Dave..."Dave.. what are you doing Dave....". So, Hal came to be. I ordered a hitch and wiring harness from eTrailer and it arrived quickly. Installing the hitch was pretty easy. The instructions were clear and the instructional videos on their website were phenomenal. However, the instructions failed to mention that you should not close your garage door with the car raised on jack stands and the hatchback open Add $475 to project cost because I'm a dumbass The wiring was a little more … Continue reading Prepping Hal for the Wagon of Science

Public Night Sky Viewing 9/14/2018

It was hot and cloudy all day, but the prediction was for the clouds to break by 9 pm, so we went forward with this months outreach event at the Watson Soccer Fields in Rochester, MN. It turned out to be the largest outreach event that I've seen in my time with the RAC. Over 60 people showed up to view the night sky! The clouds broke by 8 pm and we were able to see Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars before the clouds returned at about 10:30. It was nice to see the students from Mayo High School that were encouraged to attend. I'm still having a problem getting the new telescope properly collimated, but it is getting better. I love the LX90, but nothing beats a trusty Dobsionian for getting things up and running in little time. I wish that I was able to photograph the night-time crowds, it was truly remarkable.