Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quick Post: Friday Night at York River

York River State Park--The Wetlands
An excellent night's observing at York River State Park near Williamsburg. Six of us took advantage of the weather and set up 'scopes near the visitors center. Joining us were new members Lori and Steve who brought their excellent 4.4" table-top Newtonian to be checked out and to experience their own "first light" with it. In addition Carl, a young Ameri-Corps volunteer working at the park, made an invaluable contribution to the proceedings by hanging a cover over an intrusive nearby light.
My 10" Dob and observing set-up
It really WAS a beautiful night--something we all needed after the past month of wet and murky weather--and all hands bent to their respective eyepieces with enthusiasm! I found myself hunting galaxies and globulars--M104 and M13 were truly spectacular through my 10" Dob (pictured), though at one point I went off on a double star tangent with v Draconis and Alcor/Mizar and Albireo!
Steve and Lori with their new "Newt"
With moonrise the party broke up, and it was a group of happy astronomers who bade each other goodbye and set off to make their separate ways home. I learned an important lesson at this point about leaving car windows open whilst observing, and drove home with all my windows down so the cool midnight air could flush the hundreds of tiny (thankfully non-biting) insects that had colonized my vehicle while I enjoyed the skies!
Waiting for the night...

Thanks to all who came to join us last night at YRSP; and special thanks to Bill who arranged this rather impromptu star party with the Park rangers, Carl who turned oppressive light into blessed darkness with a carefully-placed trash bag, and of course the good folks at York River State Park and Virginia State Parks who support our stargazing activities with enthusiasm!

 "I would rather freeze and fight off mosquitoes than play astronomy on a computer"--Ben Funk, Jr.

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