Two other Telescopes In Education (TIE) alumni volunteers set up or solar telescopes at Hilltop park in Signal Hill, California to view and share the eclipse with onlookers. We had about 150 to 200 people show up out of nowhere to see it. Carrol brought his classic C-8 Celestron SCT and April brought her vintage Celestron Ultima 2000. I set up my Meade LX250 Frankensocpe SCT with the venerable TIE Helios 1 H-alpha solar telescope. On addition I set up my short tube Celestron FirstScope refractor with a Sun Funnel, which made it easy for people to view the eclipse and take photos. People were even holding up their children and posing next to it. Here a young woman poses with a smile, standing next to my sun funnel which is display8ing a Cheshire-cat like grin.
Sunspot group imaged from my backyard with my telescope in solar astronomy mode. I used my cheapo Canon Powershot A260 digital camera hard attached to my ten inch SCT.
Thanks to a generous contribution my Meade Instruments, who supplied me with a free replacement AutoStarII handbox for my telescope, I am getting ready for the 2012 season of astronomy outreach.
First up is an appearance of my telescope at the Long Beach Downtown Art Walk on Linden Avenue between First and Broadway streets. I intend to run the telescope from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. In April I am coordinating with a local Meetup Group for a joint astronomy outreach on Astronomy Day, Saturday, April 18 at Bluff park in Long Beach.
In addition I am gearing up for the partial solar eclipse (partial as seen from Long Beach) on May 20th from Hilltop park in Signal Hill, California, and enclave community within Long Beach. I am coordinating with the Science Department at Wilson High School for students to view the eclipse for extra credit.
On June 5th 2012 in the afternoon a once in a liftetime event happens. The planet Venus will pass in front of the Sun, from our point of view. This is called a transit, and it will be visible in my telescope, which may be set up again on Hilltop Park in Signal Hill, weather permitting. This is the time of year when overcast skies are common in Los Angeles. If this is the case I will have to travel to a remote mountaintop to view this event.
The Second Saturdays in June, July, August and September are the dates for the Long Beach Park Jam at Caesar Chavez Park. I wlll be setting up my telescope there, if the weather cooperates.
The biannual Colorado Street Bridge Party in Old Town Pasadena is on Saturday July 14th. Traditionally, I set up my telescope with other Telescopes In Education Foundation volunteers for viewing from 6 to 11 p.m.
This is only a provisional schedule. More events my come up. As usual, I intend to have as many people look at the Universe through my telescope as possible.
On February 10. 2012 I did a solo astronomy outreach on the Northeast corner of 1st and Linden Street in downtown Long Beach, California at the Street Art Festival. This festival is held the second Saturday of each month. 129 people viewed Venus, Jupiter, M42 and Mars through my Meade telescope.
My astronomy Software of choice, TheSky 6 Pro, has the ability to display transient astronomical phenomenon, such as comets. By loading the latest elements for Comet Elanin, I have discovered that on the evening of November 22, 2011, the comet will pass nearly in front of the famous Pleiades star cluster. This may be an opportunity for some excellent astroimaging. Please click on the image to read the particulars.