Tonight was the second Star Party hosted by Powell River Books at the Town Centre Hotel in Powell River, BC. Wayne (with a little help from me) set up two telescopes in the hotel's courtyard. The goal was to introduce people to astronomy and the availability of affordable telescopes. The Star Party was part of our contribution to the International Year of Astronomy. Around the world, amateur and professional astronomers have been hosting similar events.
The moon slipped below the horizon before darkness set in, so we set up Wayne's more powerful Meade LX90 to focus on Jupiter. Jupiter is currently as close as it gets to the earth, and viewing is excellent. The four largest moons were lined up in a row, and the bands were quite evident. Thanks to the computer driven controllers on today's modern scopes, we were able to easily find and track the evenings best celestial objects.
Participants of all ages had a good time, and they especially enjoyed their free commemorative hand painted constellation paper weights. Wayne and I want to thank Shelly, the manager of the Town Centre Hotel, for her ongoing support of events like these and Powell River Books.
Wayne is an enthusiastic amateur astronomer. He has three telescopes, a Meade ETX125 (125 millimeter) Maksutov-Cassegrain, a Meade LX90 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a Edmond Astroscan (for fun). For newbie amateurs astronomers, here are a few of his recommendations:
- 7 X 50 mm binoculars with magnification no higher than 7 ($100)
- a planisphere chart to identify celestial objects (about $20)
- Nightwatch by Dickinson, Schaller, Costanzo and Cooke ($40)
- Star Watch by Harrington (about $20)
- Sky & Telescope or Astronomy magazine
- FirstScope telescope by Celestron (about $60)
- ETX-90PE telescope by Meade (about $600)
Do you have a favourite night sky viewing spot? Let us hear about it. -- Margy