I went to Houge Park with my telescope last night, 3 April 2009. It was mainly a public outreach event for me. I sent my OI (observing intent) to my daughter’s elementary school yahoo group mail list and the father/daughter group that we are in. I got at least two families from the school and one from the f/d group, as well as one neighbor and her kids, to show up. It was not a bad night!<br />n<br />nBelow is my brief report, which was mainly a response to Mark Wagner’s report he posted to the <a href=”http://observers.org/” title=”the astronomy connection”>observers.org</a> mail list, also known as TAC, or The Astronomy Connection.<br />n<br />nMy report is pasted below, but you can read the whole thing as well as Mark’s at this link:<br />n<a href=”http://observers.org/tac.mailing.list/2009/Apr/0079.html” title=”mail archive”>http://observers.org/tac.mailing.list/2009/Apr/0079.html</a><br />n<br />nFrom: Rob Jaworski <jaworskirob@ yahoo.com><br />nTo: TAC mailing list <tac@nine.pairlist. net><br />nSent: Saturday, April 4, 2009 10:00:20 AM<br />nSubject: Re: [TAC] OR: A Surprising Night at Houge Park<br />n<br />nGreat report, Mark, as always.<br />n<br />nThat was my 8 inch Orion that baffled Mark. And he was right about the seeing, it got dramatically better within minutes.<br />n<br />nMy own experience with that fortunate change last night was that Saturn was really murky and fuzzy and not exciting to look at with my highest power (10mm with 2x barlow in my XT8). Earlier in the evening, I remarked to a visitor that my barlowed efforts are never as crisp as people usually describe. Why?, she asked. I thought for a second and admitted, I don’t know! Well, I have some ideas, but they are all conjectures. Anyway, that’s another topic.<br />n<br />nLater in the evening, once the seeing sharpened up, I barlowed up and trained my scope on Saturn again. Got the focus dialed in, and wow, it really was working like it should! I could see the ring across the face of the disk, and I could also see the gap between the ring and the disk on at least one edge. In addition, I was able to notice some bands on the gas ball itself. The fact that I don’t have tracking didn’t stop me from spending some time on this sight. (Other than more time to pursue this hobby, tracking would be high on my wish list.)<br />n<br />nThere was a good turnout of people, families. That’s the whole point of Houge Friday Nights, IMO. But it started to get more chilly as the evening wore on, and the moon seemed to continue to brighten, so I was out of there by 11:30.<br />n<br />nMark, I’m up for some sidewalk astronomy if you are!<br />n<br />n-Rob