Thursday, July 30, 2015

On The Boardwalk

Great night on the Boardwalk in Virginia Beach on Tuesday! The Back Bay Amateur Astronomers had an even dozen telescopes of various types and sizes out there, giving passersby glimpses of the waxing gibbous Moon and Saturn. And there were a LOT of you can tell by the photos the Boardwalk is a popular place on a warm summer's evening! I think this may have been the biggest crowd I've ever seen at a public stargazing event.

I'd planned to bring my "120" to the waterfront but was stymied by parking; as might be expected on a fine July evening the area was crowded and the closest parking I could find was four blocks away from the boardwalk!  I'm dedicated but not a muscleman, and the prospect of carrying scope, mounting and counterweights from car to site--and later back to the car!--was quite daunting.  In the end this was probably a good thing; there were already plenty of scopes but not a lot of room to spare! (I did help out with crowd-control and even manned a fine 12-inch Dobsonian for half-an-hour or so, sharing the view of the gibbous Moon with dozens of passers-by).

What the good folks of 'Back Bay' were up to that evening was Amateur Astronomy Outreach on an major-league scale; being rather experienced at "sidewalk astronomy" I am impressed by their equipment and knowledge and the obvious pleasure they take in sharing both with strangers "in the night".  Kudos to the BBAA for an excellent job of getting people to look up and take notice of the Universe!

And that's what Outreach is all about.

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