“Oh my god. I can see the Rings!”
— 50 different people last night
Last night was awesome. Last night was the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Associations observing event at the Vassar Farm Preserve, titled Saturn Watch. This is the second public outreach event we’ve done at the Preserve, folking our wildly successful Observe the Moon Night back in September.
We had at least 10 telescopes on the fields brought by members, and at least 60 – 80 visitors there (as I keep hearing about the various groups of 5 – 10 that came, I’m starting to think that might actually be a low estimate). For nearly an hour I had a steady stream of folks coming to my scope to take a look at Saturn.
The first time you see Saturn through a telescope is a magical and visceral experience. That emotion was spilling out through out the field, as you could hear gasps and exclamations as they brought their eye up to the eyepiece.
Talking with folks through the evening, I answered questions about Saturn, telescopes, and astronomy in general. I also let everyone know about our other observing events throughout the year. I think we got at least 2 new members, and I know we managed to get a lot of kids excited about astronomy as well.
Now I’m eagerly looking forward to the North East Astronomy Forum, and the April star party.