I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that while I’m a member of the board of the AstroPontiac Observatory, last Saturday was my first outing for the year to the site. Observing nights are frequently high-demand days for me, given my role as the local RASC centre’s Star Party Coordinator, and just other commitments. But Jacob wanted to go, and Andrea was willing to go too with a hope for a small picnic and time to hike the opening of the Luskville Falls trail, so we set off.
We stopped at the Subway near us to get some grub for the picnic and by the time we were at Luskville and finished our meal, it was already starting to darken a bit. Andrea and Jacob did a quick walk down the first part of the trail, but it wasn’t inviting at that time, and they came back.
Our leader, Stephan, showed up a bit later, and we drove out onto the field to get setup. Another volunteer, Michel, was there to operate the big outside scope, Stephan could operate the inside scope, and Jacob and I would set up our two scopes too. There were a few visitors, but mostly we were left to our own devices.
I’d love to say it was perfect, but we struggled a bit in the night with dew. And Jacob wasn’t dressed anywhere near warm enough, so he ended up back in the car and cold. We saw a few things through the various scopes, taught each other some stuff about various constellations, and I did a bit of a sky tour. Jacob was not only cold, but he also didn’t know what he should be looking at, so we are going to have to come up with some “goals” for his learning each night I think. He really likes double stars, so we may start with those.
Andrea and I did get to see the E.T. Cluster (NGC 457) which was neat, but harder to picture in my scope. I played with some filters but wasn’t having much luck, and so we packed up just after 10:00 and headed home. It was just too wet out there, and clouds were starting to come in too. Hopefully, we’ll have some good options for the joint RASC and AstroPontiac night on the 28th. But I think Jacob, like me, is going to be a mainly fair-weather astronomer in the summer. Yet he managed to do almost all of his setup and alignment himself. Very happy with his progress so far.