Event Date: Saturday, 4/15/2017
Name of Event/Service: Public Observing Event – George Observatory
Type of Service: Public Outreach
# of Hours: 2
Description of Service Performed: We arrived around sunset, and I set my up my XT8 near the eastern stairs. There were some thick cirrus clouds over the western portion of the sky that came and went throughout the night. Ten or so minutes after setting up and pointing at Jupiter, the first people started to come by, and it became fairly busy after that until around 9:30. We observed Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and later in the night NGC 2903 and the Leo Triplet. I also showed people Jupiter and all four of its moons through a pair of 10×50 binoculars tied to the railing. Around 10:00, after almost all the visitors had left, a haze started creeping across the sky, and the sky was unobservable in the space of 15 minutes.
Comments: The first person to come by was a woman who was very impressed by Jupiter, and it was while she was observing through the scope that I got the idea to show her Jupiter and its moons through the binoculars! Just the previous night, I had been out at a local park and had the binoculars on me, and had thought to turn them upon Jupiter. Freehanding the binoculars, I could only see Jupiter itself and no moons. Eventually I leaned them against a railing, then tied them to the railing for maximum stability, and lo and behold, three of the moons! I decided to try the same trick to show her, and all four Galilean moons were obvious!
For the rest of the night, I made sure to tell people after they looked in the scope that they could also see Jupiter and its moons in the binoculars. There was one man who was quite impressed by that fact, and later came back with a woman who I presume was his girlfriend, asking if I could do him a favor. “…sure?” I said, and he told me that she wouldn’t believe him that you could see the moons in the binoculars, so could she please look for herself? I said of course, and while at first she said she couldn’t see them, she later reluctantly said that guessed she could.