Monday, November 21, 2016

Stars Over Athens

Athens, Day Four. In the afternoon I rode the ship's bus into town and enjoyed a leisurely walk 'round and about. I WAS going to visit the "Olympeon" where the Temple of Zeus is located, but arrived at its gates just in time to have them closed in my face. (Note to the Athenian Tourist Department: Love your city but if you would, make an effort to standardize the opening/closing times of your glamour spots. Please & thank you!)

As evening came around I made my way to the National Gardens, specifically the rather imposing central edifice called the Zappeion. Arrived there just in time for sunset and the beginning of a star party sponsored by National Geographic to promote their new docudrama "Mars".

Appropriately, Mars was visible in the south--I believe it is in Capricornus these days--and telescopic attention was divided initially between the Red Planet and Venus. As I had no telescope with me on this expedition I concentrated on photography, and considering the lighting situation (the NatGeo folks had set up multi-coloured searchlights in addition to the normal lighting of a major building--good thing we weren't hunting galaxies!) I think they turned out pretty well...once I'd converted them to black & white!

I think the entire star party was an enormous success...several hundred members-of-the-public showed to enjoy both the telescopic views of our planetary neighbors and "Mars" Virtual-Reality trips courtesy of NatGeo. A good time, as they say, was had by all!

Tomorrow night: another NatGeo star party across town from here; I've been invited by the administrators (and my friends from Thissio observatory) to bring the Astroscan along and join the fun. Naturally I intend to go--if weather remains clear I'd love to be a part of this!

Of course, there's a language barrier here; I'd better learn the Greek for "Coathangar", "Pleiades", and "please don't knock over my telescope" before tomorrow night!

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