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I spent the week longing for the pre-pandemic days when I could dash to the truck and join my fellow club members for our scheduled public star parties. We formed the Central Montana Astronomy Society in 1998 for comet Hale-Bopp and were very active around the state for 20 years. We were in decline the last couple years due to age related issues, but the pandemic totally killed the club.
Here are a few pictures that made it to my Kos library that I would like to share. I’d like to mention Brianna, her mother brought her out to the star party fairly early. As it was getting dark enough to see Jupiter and Saturn and just before the crowds got thicker, I gave a lesson to Brianna on how to run the 10” Dobsonian telescope (the one on the right in the top picture). She got really good at aiming the scope, in under 5 minutes, she mastered going back and forth between Jupiter and Saturn. The crowd was getting thicker and I got really busy working the Meade 10” LX-5, so I put Brianna in charge of the Dob. Her mother was real supportive of her daughter because I wasn’t able to turn my attention back to her for 3 hours when the crowds thinned down. When I looked over to the Dob, there was Brianna still working the scope with a big smile on her face. Her mother told me later how she could tell them if they were seeing Jupiter or Saturn in the scope and that she had a wonderful time as “assistant astronomer”. I know that little girl is going to want her own scope someday.
I have come to a realization as of late. It isn’t just the pandemic that put a crimp in our public star parties, it’s these asshats with their guns that are worse than any other illness at shutting down public star parties. They are quick to go to any defenseless crowd and play shoot-em-up suicide-by-cop and get their name in the paper. Our public parties were always an advertised event. It would be awful if I was to be indirectly responsible if a shooter came to our event. Astronomy shouldn’t be a death sentence.
Who is talking to who?
Tuesday, June 7
Jimmy Kimmel: TBA
Jimmy Fallon: Melissa McCarthy, Henry Winkler, Iman Vellani, Marcus King
Stephen Colbert: Robert De Niro, Rosie Perez
Seth Meyers: Adam Sandler, Post Malone, James Patterson, Joe Russo
James Corden: Patrick Schwarzenegger, Tig Notaro, Dustin Nickerson
Be safe everyone!