Monday, March 9, 2009

2/24 - Viewing Comet Lulin With The Inwood Astronomy Project

On Tuesday, February 24th I took my new Orion XT8 for a spin with the Inwood Astronomy Project, a great group that observes every Wednesday and Saturday in Inwood Hill Park at what is likely the darkest site in Manhattan.

After lugging my scope up the hill (this is in the pre- carrying case days...), I was treated to a large crowd waiting to see something awesome in the night sky. It was freezing out and my scope had for the most part already cooled down (my toes as well), so it wasn't long before we were looking at some pristine views of Saturn, with Titan clearly visible. At least 40 people looked through my scope that evening.

Lulin wasn't very cooperative, and only Jason Kendall was able to find it in his new 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain Scope. It was a faint fuzzball, but was clearly visible in his eyepiece!

It was amusing to overhear some of the wacky lunar landing/space alien theories that a small but vocal minority of people were absolutely convinced of. I kept my mouth shut, which I'm pretty sure was a good move. All in all, a fantastic but freezing night! (Met some great amateur astronomers as well!)

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