The virtual public open at Menke last night seemed a great success!
Special thanks to Rusty and Sam who came on site for moral support… and Rusty did do a bit of AP work and we look forward to seeing his results.
I belive we had around 16 in virtual attendance.
The event started at 7 PM, well before sunset, and began with Dr. Mitchel making introductions, how to navigate WebEx, a virtual tour and a history of the observatory. He then gave 2 presentations, one on comets, and one on meteor showers. He frequently stopped for Q&A.
While this was going on, we waited out Jupiter rising… sounds like a great name for a movie! Anyway, we brought Jupiter and the 4 Galilean moons into view. Low in the sky, there was quite a bit of atmospheric disturbance, but that gave rise to another bit of discussion.
While we waited for Saturn, and it to get a bit darker for C/2020 F3 Neowise, some of the tools we were using were discussed and demoed… a key tool was Stellarium.
We started thinking about other objects to check out while waiting for Saturn, and Alberio was suggested… the double star did show its colors and lead to a bit of discussion about binary star systems.
Finally Saturn came into view, also with quite a bit of atmospheric issue, but was still a crowd pleaser… and a bit of discussion folllwed… then we made our way to the comet.
As easy to find as Jupiter and Saturn, but a bit underwhelming (as expected with the scope we were using) Neo made its appearance. It was still exciting to see and discuss… it filled about 3 times the FoV that Jupiter did on screen.
Not much of the tail could be seen on the screen… you can kinda see it in the attached pic going toward 7 o’clock, but maybe that was a good thing as it caused many of us to actually grab binoculars and go outside for a peak… pretty amazing site, I must say!
After We spent a good amount of time on the comet we brought the Ring Nebulae into view… the nebulae really did show up quite well with quite a bit of color and detail including its central, extinct star. We followed up with the Hercules Cluster and then the Whirlpool Galaxy.
As setting up for the event started about 5PM, the meeting starting at 7 PM, and the last guest signing off about midnight this was an excellent first shot at a virtual public event… attendees saw planets, comets, binary star systems, nebulae, and galaxies!
What else can ya ask for!