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Astronomy Education Building Update

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PVN, The usual crew of volunters.Planetarium.
Astronomy Education Building Update (reports on the Observatory, Planetarium and Public Viewing Nights) : Let John or Bill know if you want any training for operations in the building, observatory and/or planetarium.
 Observatory Report - Tom Kiel has 2 more telescopes for the telescope drawings at our Public Star Watches. The 13 inch dob (A.K.A. The Water Heater)  is back in the storage room. The Coronado hydrogen alpha solar filter has been found in the control room. It is locked up in the desk.

Planetarium Report -  Ash Enterprises has serviced the planetarium projector. The planetarium is properly aligned and working well. All the crud is cleaned off the contact points and all the lamps are working. Life is good!! Thanks again to the Mahoney Fund for paying for the planetarium projector maintenance. We are going to purchase a new PC for the planetarium shows. The present PC is giving us problems and is over 12 years old.  <>

Public Viewing Nights - Starting at 8:00 pm year round. -
Volunteers are always welcome with Public Viewing Nights (Public Star Watch). Come on down if you can help. We need volunteers with the scopes in the observatory and others to bring their own scopes to set up in the parking lot. We also need volunteers to help with greeting and directing guests to the planetarium and observatory (no experience or training with TWC equipment necessary).

April Public Star Watch - Despite the cloudy, windy and cold weather we had 33 people at our Public Viewing Night on April 4th. I gave a planetarium show featuring Mars and the upcoming Lunar Eclipse. Brian and Tom also helped out. The telescope giveaway winner was 7 year old Evan.

February Public Star Watch - I think the word is out that we are giving away telescopes! We had about 30 guests on a cold night. Brian did the planetarium show about Jupiter and the night sky. Tom gave the telescope to winner Katie D. Since it was a clear night and the roof was iced over club members set up telescopes on the sun dial. We observed the Orion Nebula, Jupiter, and the First Quarter Moon. The temperature (5 degrees) took its toll and the guests left by about 9:45 PM. After they left Brian pointed the scope to the double cluster and we all got a good look at that before we called it a night. Volunteers were Brian Gray, Ken Craddock, Tom Kiehl and Ron Wallick

Jupiter.M42 and M43 with the Resetar 10 inch LX 200 and Stellacam EX
The January 2014 Public Star Watch started out with clear skies but the clouds rolled in later. The 42 guests were welcomed with a telescope set up on the sundial plaza. Jupiter (shown above left), The Great Orion Nebula (shown above right) and The Double Cluster were some of the winter gems shown. Brian gave a planetarium show about the Great Orion Nebula. Snow on the observatory roof prevented us from opening the roof and using the telescopes in there. Ron explained the observatory’s telescopes and showed his video images of winter objects in constellations that Brian had pointed out during the planetarium show. We also had our 5th telescope drawing winner. It was won by an enthusiastic young lady who seemed very interested in astronomy. She and her mother hope to be here next month so that someone from the club could help teach her how to use it. Thanks to Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Gary Likenes, and Ron Wallick for helping.

The December 2013 Public Star Watch was canceled due to a winter storm watch.

November Telescope winner
Clouds and light rain kept us inside for the November Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium shows on Super Nova and the night sky to the 15 guests that showed up. Ron and Dwayne talked about telescopes and showed video images taken through them in the observatory. We also had our 4th telescope drawing winner (pictured above). Volunteers included
Bill Castro,  Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick

Oct. Telescope Drawing Winner,Planetarium Show.Observatory Program

Pictured Left to Right, Tom with the telescope drawing winner, John starting the planetarium show, Ron with his rainy night program inside the observatory.

Another great crowd of about 75 people showed up tot he October Public Star Watch. Clouds and rain kept us inside. John gave 2 planetarium shows on Super Nova and the night sky. Ron and Dwayne talked about telescopes and showed video images taken through them. We also had our third telescope drawing winner. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, Kim Miller, Samantha Miller, David Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick

Sept. Telescope Drawing Winner
There was about 100 people at the September Public Star Watch (A Great Crowd!). We had our second Telescope Drawing Winner. One young man was present to win a small telescope, Planisphere, red light key chain and a pamphlet on how to use a telescope. We were able to see Saturn, Venus and some deep sky objects through the observatory telescopes in-between the clouds. Ron saw the most with his video camera set up on the sundial plaza. Tom showed kids (of all ages) objects through the dob on the sundial plaza as well.  
John gave 2 planetarium shows about  the night sky to the 100 guest that showed up. Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

August Telescope Winner
The August Public Star Watch featured our first Telescope Drawing Winner (pictured above). One young man was present to win a small telescope, Planisphere, red light key chain and a pamphlet on how to use a telescope. Rain kept us from using any telescope that night. 
John gave 2 planetarium shows about Saturn and the night sky to the 25 guest that showed up. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

Rain kept us indoors for the July Public Star Watch. John gave 2 planetarium shows to the 65 guest that showed up. A Boy Scout Troop signed up to do the Astronomy Merit Badge. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Dwayne Miller, Kim Miller, Kent Rothermel, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

Clouds ruled the June Public Star Watch, we never opened the observatory roof. John gave a planetarium show to about 10 guests. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

Jupiter.
We played "hide and seek" with the clouds during the May Public Star Watch. John Waechter gave planetarium shows on Saturn and the Night Sky to about 60 guests. Jupiter and Saturn were the main objects viewed through the telescopes that night. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Gary Likenes, Dwayne Miller, Jim Quinn, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

The April Public Star Watch had clear skies, lots of stars and lots of people. We had 75 guests from the CHESCA home school group and another 80 from the general public. Joann gave several planetarium shows on the constellation Leo and the night sky. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Fred Jarka, Tom Kiehl, Dwayne Miller, Kim Miller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.


The March Public Star Watch was limited to the indoor program due to clouds and light snow. Joann gave a planetarium show on Comets and Asteroids and Meteors (Oh My!) to about a dozen guests. We later toured the observatory and discussed the details of the roll off roof and telescopes. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray and Joann Ballbach for helping.

Clouds and cold kept us indoors for the February Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show on NASA Origions and solar formation to 12 guest. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.


M42 and M43 with the Resetar 10 inch LX 200 and Stellacam EX.Jupiter

It was very clear and very cold for the January 2013  Public Star Watch. Joann gave a planetarium show to our 35 guests that braved the cold. Unfortunately, we couldn't open the observatory roof due to the snow piled on it. Fortunately, Tom and Ron brought their own telescopes and set up on the snow covered sundial for the public to view the stars and planets. The Orion Nebula and Jupiter were the evening highlights. The last quarter Moon didn't rise until 12:52 after midnight. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl and Ron Wallick for helping.

Rain greeted us for the December Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show on the constellation Orion and the night sky to our 12 guests.
Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

The November Public Star Watch was clouded over and cold. Joann gave a planetarium show titled "Bad Astronomy" about common misconceptions in astronomy followed by the 4 seasons of constellations in the planetarium. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Brian Gray and Ron Wallick for helping.

We had cloudy skies for the October Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show about our nearest star the Sun followed by the evening constellations in the planetarium. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The skies briefly cleared for the September Public Star Watch and allowed us to see a few stars and star clusters. Joann gave a planetarium show about Astronomy With Binoculars and the night sky to the 20 guests that showed up.
Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl and Ron Wallick for helping.

The skies for the August Public Star Watch were partly cloudy for the 45 guests in attendance. John gave a planetarium show on the Mars Curiosity rover and the night sky.
Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

The July Public Star Watch featured clear skies and 100 guests. Joann gave 2 planetarium shows on Asteroids and the night sky. Lynda gave a planetarium show to the
Fifth-Eighth Graders attending the Nature at Night part of The Wilderness Center's Summer Days Enrichment program. Bill, Ken and John got 6 members of Boy Scout Troop 920 started on the Astronomy merit badge. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle, Tom Kiehl, John Knapp and Ron Wallick.

The June Public Star Watch was attended by 14 visitors. Joann gave a planetarium show on the Planet Venus. Ron showed some of his recorded observing videos in the observatory. The weather was Cloudy and light drizzle. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Brian Gray, Ken Craddock, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.


Rain greeted us for the May Public Star Watch. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows about Mars and the night sky to the 50 guests that braved the weather. Videos were also shown in the Observatory. Those that stayed late witnessed a break in the clouds and were treated to views of Venus, Mars, Saturn and the Moon on the sundial patio.  Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The skies were clear and the Moon was full for the April Public Star Watch. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows to the 60 guests.
Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

There were 5 guests for the March Public Star Watch. Joann Ballbach gave a planetarium show and then the skies cleared at the last minute for us to use the telescopes in the observatory. Highlights included the first quarter moon, Jupiter, Mars and The Great Orion Nebula. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray and Ron Wallick for helping.

The skies were clear and the weather still unseasonably warm for the February Public Star Watch. Joann gave a planetarium show to the 47 guests about the constellation Orion and the night sky. The telescopes were showcasing the Orion nebula, Jupiter and the Moon. Thanks to
Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle and John Waechter.

The 115 guests were a record crowd for a January 2012 Public Star Watch.
The weather was amazingly warm and clear. It didn't seem like winter or Ohio at all. John gave 2 planetarium shows on the night sky. Jupiter, the Moon and the Orion Nebula where the highlights in the observatories telescopes.  Ron had his own telescope, camera and video monitor set up on the sundial displaying numerous deep sky objects. Fred and Mike set up their own telescopes in the parking lot. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Tom Kiehl, Mike Mullet, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The streak of clear skies continued for the December Public Star Watch. Joann gave a planetarium show titled "Bad astronomy" followed by a tour of the constellations in the night sky to 50 guests that evening. The highlights of the evening were Jupiter, the Great Orion Nebula and a First Quarter Moon. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse and Mike Mullet.

The skies were clear for the November Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show to the over 50 guests for the evening. Bill, Ron and Mike, who brought their own telescopes, camera and display, were observing from the sundial and parking lot. The highlights of the evening were Jupiter and a waxing gibbous moon. Joann, Tammy and Barb came down from The Wilderness Center to help out. Tammy (who is retiring) also introduced Barb as our new Development Director and new liaison to the club. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Tom Kiehl, Mike Mullet, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

The October Public Star Watch was canceled due to The Wilderness Center's Enchanted Forest event.

We had a clear night for the September Public Star Watch. Joann Ballbach gave a planetarium show about the Space Shuttle and the night sky to 35 guests. Club volunteers Ken Craddock, Brian Gray and John Waechter operated the telescopes.

It was cloudy for the August Public Star Watch. John  gave a planetarium show titled "One Small Step: The Shuttle, Where it is and Where it has Been" followed by a constellation show to 34 guests. Ron showed video of images he previously captured on better nights and guests checked out the telescopes and how they worked in the observatory. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Nancy Castro, Ken Craddock, Gary Likness, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The July Public Star Watch had 150 guests that evening. Saturn was the highlight of the evening. Joann gave 3 planetarium shows about binocular observing and the evening constellations. Bill and Brian manned the telescopes in the observatory while Fred, Ron and two other guests had 4 telescopes operating in the parking lot Thanks to our volunteers Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse and Ron Wallick for helping.

The June Public Star Watch had thin clouds and haze that washed out all but the brightest objects in the night sky for the 49 guests that evening. Saturn and its moons Titan, Dione, Enceladus, Rhea and Tethys were the highlight of the evening. Joann gave 2 planetarium shows about seasons and the evening constellations. Thanks to our volunteers Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Brian Gray,  Fred Grosse, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis Young and Pat Young for helping.

Clouds and a light rain forced us to do the indoor program for the May Public Star Watch.  John gave a planetarium show "Space Rocks, Impacts from our Smallest Neighbors" by the Night Sky Network followed by condtellations and stars in the evening sky to 38 guests. Ron braved the light rain and showed some of his video images on the sundial. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray,  John Waechter, and Ron Wallick for helping.

The April Public Star Watch was cloudy. Joann gave a planetarium show appropriately titled "April Fools" to 45 guests. Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, John Waechter, and Ron Wallick for helping.

Rain forced us to do the indoor program for the March Public Star Watch.  John gave a planetarium show "Space Rocks, Impacts from our Smallest Neighbors" by the Night Sky Network followed by condtellations and stars in the evening sky to 9 guests. Ron showed some of his video images of winter galaxies and nebulae in the observatory. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, John Waechter, and Ron Wallick for helping.

The February, 2011 Public Star Watch is Canceled. The power at The Wilderness Center is out and will not be on untill Saturday.

The October Public Star Watch had pristine skies for the 140 guests (including several school groups).  John gave 2 planetarium shows. After dark the telescopes in the observatory and members telescopes and cameras in the parking lot showed Jupiter, galaxies nebulae and other stars of the night. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Gerry Powell, Dave Ross, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

The September Public Star Watch started out with depressing partly cloudy skies that later changed over to happy clear skies for those who stayed late. Joann gave 2 planetarium shows to 55 guests. After dark the telescopes in the observatory and members telescopes and cameras in the parking lot showed Venus and Jupiter. We even had a small scope for kids to try their luck at finding stars. Later that evening other jewels of the night sky appeared such as the Veil Supernova Remnant, The Dumbbell Nebula and The Andromeda Galaxy. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick..

The August Public Star Watch had pristine skies for the 75 guests. Joann gave 2 planetarium shows on planets and the night sky. A NASA video on Infrared and club images of objects to be seen later that night were played on the TV monitor in the observatory while we were waiting for it to get dark. After dark the scopes in the observatory and members scopes on the sundial showed Venus, Saturn and some other jewels of the night sky. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Rick Breehl, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The July Public Star Watch had clear skies for the 80 guests. Joann gave 3 planetarium shows on constellations and the night sky. Venus and Saturn were on display at sunset. The summer Milky Way and all it's treasures of star clusters and nebulae highlighted the night for those who stayed late. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle, Ken Schneller, Ron Wallick Pat and Dennis Young for helping.

The weather gave us clouds instead of stars for the June Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show on Saturn and the night sky to about 30 guests including Boy Scouts from Troop 203 North Industry who were working on the Astronomy Merit badge. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

Clouds and wind forced us to do the indoor program for the May Public Star Watch. John gave a planetarium show on Saturn and the night sky to about 45 guests including Boy Scouts from Troop 203 North Industry who were working on the Astronomy Merit badge. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode and John Waechter.

The April Public Star Watch had very hazy skies. Only Mars, Saturn and a couple of the brightest stars shown through the murk. John gave 2 planetarium shows on Mercury and the night sky to 76 guests including Boy Scouts from Troop 203 North Industry who were working on the Astronomy Merit badge. Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The March Public Star Watch featured a beautiful clear and moonless sky. Mars took center stage as well as the Orion Nebula and some great star clusters in Auriga. Saturn greeted visitors who stayed later in the evening. John gave a talk about Mars followed by an all sky show in the planetarium to about 48 guests. Scouts from Troop 203 North Industry were in attendance to work on the Astronomy Merit badge. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Dave Gill, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gary & Kris Liknes, Gene Rickenbrode, Dave Ross, Ken Schneller, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

The February Public Star Watch was canceled due to a winter storm advisory.

The January 2011 Public Star Watch was canceled due to the New Years holiday.

We had some high scattered clouds for the December Public Star Watch. We were able to see some brighter objects in spite of the clouds. John showed the Night Sky Network's "Keppler Mission " followed by an all sky show in the planetarium to 35 guests. Volunteers included Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis Young and Pat Young.

The November Public Star Watch skies were clear for the 55 guests that night. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows featuring the Night Sky Network program "Exploring the Solar System" as well as an all sky show. Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping out.

The rain gave way to clear skies for the October Public Star Watch. Brian Gray gave a planetarium show to 34 guests. Jupiter, the waxing moon and some deep sky objects were on display in the observatory. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray and Ron Wallick.

The full Moon and Jupiter were the highlights for the September Public Star Watch. There were 108 guests in attendance. John gave the program "Exploring the Solar System" from the Night Sky Network followed by a sky show in the planetarium to 2 groups. We also  had scouts from Buckeye Council finishing their Astronomy Merit Badge that night. Thanks to Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

The August Star Watch featured clouds. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows to 52 guests  including Boy Scouts from the Buckey Council working on the Astronomy Merit Badge. John gave a program titled "Super Nova" followed by the night sky show. Brian explained the operation of the Keller, Giust and Resetar telescopes in the observatory.  Volunteers included Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter and Ron Wallick.

The July Star Watch featured Saturn, the Moon and unfortunately lots of clouds for our 27 guests, including 6 Boy Scouts from  the Buckeye Council working on the Astronomy Merit Badge. John gave a program titled "What Happened to Pluto or Honey I Shrunk the Solar System" followed by an all sky show in the planetarium. Volunteers included Jeff Brest, Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse,  Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis Young and Pat Young.

The June Star Watch was clear with a waxing Moon rising in the east. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows to 99.5 guests. (Yes the 0.5 guest was busting to get out of it's own planetarium dome.) We also had Dave Ross and his Boy Scout Troop 176 from Columbia Station. The Moon and Saturn were targets for the Guist telescope while star clusters, nebulas and galaxies were shown in the Keller and Resetar telescope connected to a  TV monitor. Ron Wallick and Fred Grosse even had their own telescopes and a TV monitor set up in the parking lot. Thanks to Joann Ballbach, Jeff Brest, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Dave Ross, Ken Schneller, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

A deluge greeted us for the May Star Watch. We used the indoor program yet again.  John gave the Night Sky Network's program on planets and Pluto followed by an all sky show in the planetarium to the 17 brave guests that weathered the rain to get to the Center. Leave it to a young child to see Mars in the Keller telescope. They were looking into the big end of the Keller telescope when one of the children yells out, "I see Mars!". I know that Mars isn't visible right now, rain clouds or not, but I had to look. What he was looking at was the tiny reflection of the red eyepiece cover bounced off of the telescopes mirrors. I laughed with him and was impressed that a 5 year old knows that Mars is the red planet. That nights cast of volunteers included Rick and Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick. Some of us "saw Mars" that night also.

Clouds has us showing the indoor program for the April Star Watch. John Waechter gave a planetarium show about the NASA Kepler Mission and the night sky to the 50 guests including Scout Troop 933. Brian Gray and Ron Wallick showed astro images and Bill Castro showed a NASA video on Infrared Astronomy on TV monitors in the observatory. Volunteers included Bill Castro, Fred Gardner, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis Young.

Hide and seek with the clouds was the game for the March Star Watch. John Waechter gave a planetarium show from the Night Sky Network titled "Kepler Mission" followed by an all sky show. The first quarter moon was the only thing visible in the observatory that evening for the 60 guests People were waiting at the telescope eyepiece trying to chase the clouds away just to get a glimse. We also had visitors from Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Conference heald in the Interpretive building that evening. Thanks to Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young for helping.

The skies were clear and the moon was waxing for the 58 guest who attended the February Star Watch. John Waechter gave a International Year of Astronomy presentation, "What is Astronomy" followed by a sky show in the planetarium. Ron Wallick even brought out his own telescope on the sundial for the dozen or so students to look at objects themselves. Highlights included the Moon, Venus and the Great Orion Nebula in the Giust Telescope. Other numerous deep sky objects were imaged and displayed on the TV monitor with the Resetar telescope . Thanks to  Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

We were again surprised to have very clear skies and 65 guests for the January (2009) Star Watch. John gave the program "Telescopes: Eyes on the Universe" from the Night Sky Network followed by a sky show in the planetarium. The observatory was a constant buzz of telescope motors as "there were more objects in the sky to look at than geese in the pond" noted one of the guests. We even brought out a small telescope on the sundial for the dozen or so kids to aim and look at objects themselves. Highlights included a stellar nursery, The Great Orion Nebula viewed in the Keller Telescope, The Moon in the Giust Telescope and numerous deep sky objects in the Resetar telescope were displayed on the TV monitor. Thanks to Rick and Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Eric and Barb Mast, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter and Ron Wallick

The December Star Watch had clear skies and cold temperatures. John gave a planetarium show to the 8 guests that showed up. Afterwards, everybody braved the 19 degree temperatures to look at the night sky in the observatory.  The Resetar telescope was connected to the Stellacam and showed star clusters and galaxies on the TV monitor. The first quarter moon took the spotlight in the Giust telescope. The prominent lunar features that night were the Alpine Valley and the Straight Wall.  Volunteers included Bill Castro, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young.

Clouds and rain greeted our 15 guests at the November Star Watch. John Waechter gave the Night Sky Network "Kepler Mission" presentation and a sky show in the planetarium. Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode and Ron Wallick came and helped out.

Observing was completely clouded out for the October Star Watch.  John gave a planetarium show to 55 people including a group of Cub Scouts and a Brownie troop. Volunteers included Rick & Norma Breehl, Ken Craddock, Brian Gray, Phil Hoyle, Gene Rickenborde, John Waechter and  Dennis Young,

Clouds has us showing the indoor program for the September Star Watch. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows to the 51 guests and Webelos Scout Troop 200 that showed up. Ron Wallick showed astro images and Bill Castro showed a NASA video on Infrared Astronomy on TV monitors in the observatory. Volunteers included Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, Ron Wallick and John Waechter

The August Star Watch had rain clouds moving out to partly cloudy skies that allowed for limited viewing. Jupiter and its Galilean moons were the "stars" of the night through the Giust refractor. The Resetar was connected to the Stellacam and showed star clusters and nebula on the TV monitor. John Waechter gave 2 planetarium shows to a crowd of 55. Thanks to Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, Ron Wallick and John Waechter for volunteering.

The skies cleared somewhat for the July Star Watch. John gave the Night Sky Network presentation titled "Supernova!" followed by a constellation show of the evening sky to a small group of 10 in the planetarium. The clouds were playing hide and seek with the stars and planets that 4th of July night. Highlights in the telescopes were Saturn, The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules M13, The Wild Duck Cluster and later in the night Jupiter and its Great Red Spot made an appearance. Volunteers included Joann Ballbach, Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, Ron Wallick and John Waechter.

The skies were clear and the observatory roof opened for the June Star Watch. (The first clear sky for a Star Watch since January.) John gave the new Night Sky Network presentation titled "Supernova!" followed by a constellation show. The highlights in the scopes included the 3 day old crescent Moon, Saturn, M13, M57, M5, M104, M65, M66 and others. John, Gene, Ken and Bill ran the telescopes in the observatory. Rick managed the 8 inch dob and the kids on the sundial out front. Norma, Dennis and Pat helped with crowd control. Ron and Fred set up their own telescopes in the parking lot. Thanks to Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Fred Grosse, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, Ron Wallick, Dennis and Pat Young for helping with the crowd of 44.

Clouds AND rain for the May Star Watch kept us inside. John Waechter gave the Night Sky Network show titled "Exploring the Universe" to 14 guest. Thanks to Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Gene Rickenbrode and John Waechter for helping.

Clouds again for the April Star Watch kept the crowd of 49 inside. Rick Breehl and Brian Gray presented 2 constellation sky shows. Volunteers included Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode and Ron Wallick.

The March star watch was canceled due to a winter storm advisory and snow.

The weather was cold and icy for the February Star Watch. Both school groups that had planned to attend canceled.  John Waechter did a sky show for 6 guests in the planetarium. Other members who came down to help were Gene Rickenbrode, Ron Wallick, Ken Craddock and Mike Trucinski.

For the January 2008 Star Watch we had another good crowd (60 guests) under mostly clear skies, just a few patchy clouds floating by now & again.  John Waechter presented 2 shows in the planetarium, giving his "Exploring Mars" show and a constellation sky show for each group.  Gene Rickenbrode, Fred Grosse & Ken Craddock manned the telescopes in the observatory and Ron Wallick set up his scope in the parking lot. The primary target was Mars along with the other bright winter sky objects.

Clouds forced us to use the indoor program for the December Star Watch. John Waechter gave a planetarium show to 8 guests on Comet 17P/Holmes and constellations that would have been visible in the sky if the clouds weren't there. Many thanks to our volunteers who braved the cold and showed up. Volunteers included Rick Breehl, Josh Breehl, Bill Castro, Gene Rickenbrode and John Waechter.

Click to enlarge (1.8 Mb) J, Waechter points to comet Holmes, image by Dave Ross.Comet Holmes by Brian Gray and Bill Castro from TWC with Stellacam EX and 10 in. LX200
L, John Waechter points to comet Holmes, R. comet Holmes via TWC camera during November Star Watch.

For the November Star Watch comet 17P/Holmes took center stage on a beautiful starry night. The Center's telescopes and cameras were all working showing the 100 guests views of comet Holmes, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Dumbbell Nebula (M27), the Ring Nebula (M57), the Wild Duck Cluster (M11), globular clusters (M15/M2) and more. Fred Grosse, Ron Wallick and Dave Ross brought their own telescopes out to help with the crowd.  Members took images through the centers scopes, cameras and their own equipment. Stay tuned to this page for postings of their pictures. John Waechter gave the planetarium show "Explorers' Guide to the Solar System" from the Night Sky Network to a standing room only crowd at 8:00 and again for an encore presentation at 9:00. Thanks to Rick and Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Fred Grosse, Phil Hoyle, Dave Ross, Ken Schneller, Mike Trucinski, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for volunteering.

We were honored to host seventy-five guests including a handful of Girl Scouts at the October Star Watch.  The skies were partly cloudy, but we were able to tease out views of Jupiter, the Ring Nebula, the Owl Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Blue Snowball.  At one point the International Space Station and an Iridium flare were visible at the same time.  John Waechter premiered his Exploring Mars program for two shows in the Planetarium.  Volunteers included Phil Creed, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Phil Hoyle, Brian Gray, and Ken Craddock.

For the September Star Watch, mostly cloudy skies limited observations to some views of Jupiter.  John Waechter presented the Night Sky Network's Black Hole Survival Guide to forty guests.  Many thanks to our volunteers: Bill Castro, Ron Wallick, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, and Brian Gray.

The August Star Watch was shortened by clouds and lightning but the ninety guests were treated to views of mighty Jupiter, colorful Albiero, the Ring Nebula, and the Dumbbell Nebula.  A bright Perseid meteor supplied some fireworks during a break in the clouds.  Mike Trucinski, Fred Grosse, Ken Schneller, Bill Castro, Gene Rickenbrode, John Waechter, Rick Breehl, Norma Breehl, and Brian Gray provided valuable assistance.  JohnWaechter dazzled the guests with two showings of his You Used To Be Stars program in the planetarium.

For the July Public Star Watch, the planets Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter made early appearances for the fifty-five guests who visited the Astronomy Education Building.  The skies remained clear after sunset and many clusters, nebulae, and some galaxies were viewed through the scopes and displayed on the video monitor with the Stellacam.  John Waechter presented two showings of the Night Sky Network'sOur Galaxy, Our Universe.  Thanks to our volunteers: Bill Castro, Ken Schneller, John Waechter, Norma and Rick Breehl, Ron Wallick, John Weiss, Fred Grosse, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode, Phil Hoyle, and Mike Unsold.

The rain gave way to hazy skies for the June Public Star Watch. John Waechter gave a planetarium show to about 20 guests. The observatory was open and the Moon, Venus and Saturn dominated the sky. Even with the bright moon up the Stellacam showed us great images of deep sky objects such as globular clusters M13, M5 the Ring Nebula M57, the Black Eye Galaxy M64 and the Sombrero Galaxy M104. Jupiter made an appearance for those who stayed late. Thanks to Rick and Norma Breehl Bill Castro, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode, Ken Schneller, John Waechter and Ron Wallick for helping.

Partly cloudy skies could not deny the eager crowd of about 100 guests the glorious views of Saturn at the May Public Star Watch.  Dave Gill gave an encore presentation of The Art and Science of Saturn.  As the skies darkened, the scopes showcased some old favorites such as the Whirlpool, Sombrero, Spindle, and Black Eye galaxies; globular clusters M3 and M13; and the Ghost of Jupiter nebula.  Thanks to John Waechter, Dave Ross, Dave Gill, Gene Rickenbrode, Brian Gray, Mike Trucinski, Ron Wallick, Fred Grosse, and Norma and Rick Breehl for their help.

The April Public Star Watch was very cold and very cloudy. Dave Gill gave his planetarium show  titled, The Art and Science of Saturn to 13 guests. It had  NASA Cassini-Huygens Saturn mission updates from JPL Solar System Ambassadors group.  Thanks to Rick and Norma Breehl, Bill Castro, Dave Gill, Brian Gray, Gene Rickenbrode and John Waechter for helping.

For the March Public Star Watch the weather was mostly clear and the Moon dominated the sky.  The forty guests enjoyed the views of Saturn, the Moon, globular cluster M79, the Eskimo nebula, the Orion nebula, and open clusters like M35, M41, the ET cluster and the Christmas Tree cluster.  John Waechter talked about the Moon and the upcoming lunar eclipse in the planetarium, and Brian Gray and Gene Rickenbrode wrangled the scopes in the observatory.

M42 and M43 with the Resetar 10 inch LX 200 and Stellacam EX..

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Last updated February 12, 2014 by by Bill Castro