We have a new member of our stargazing team over here at Rancho Refined + Rugged. My husband picked up this awesome 6 inch reflector last week on KSL (the Utah equivalent of Craigslist), and we’ve been waiting for an opportune time to take it out for a spin.
I have a 10 inch reflector that I made in High School, but it needs some extra love and attention (read a mirror cleaning and calibration) to be usable. So it’s been great to have this new little telescope for our summer star gazing.
We took our star and constellation viewing activities of last Science Friday and tried out the new telescope in our backyard this week! The boys were ecstatic to be able to use the telescope for the first time. The pictures of the moon were shot by my husband with his iPhone through the telescope lens, and I think they are pretty cool!
Little P also had an exciting breakthrough that night when he sighted his first constellation, Scorpius! Low on the Western horizon, boasting the bright red star Antares on its back. He ran up to me from across the yard, “Mom! Mom! Is that Scorpius?” He asked pointing to the telltale crest of the scorpion’s head in the sky.
“Yes!” Was my amazed reply.
The rest of our little star party was spent looking at the moon from different angels and with different lenses, and adding a few more constellation sightings to our repertoire like Lyra, Cygnus, and Aquila, whose stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair form the Summer Triangle. It was a really special night for our little family.
If you don’t have a telescope at home, you can look for star parties and star gazing groups in your area. Lots of Universities have small observatories attached to them, or look through your local paper or on the signage at your favorite coffee spot for local Astronomy groups.
Star parties are fun whether you sit in your backyard pointing out constellations, planets, meteor showers, and favorite stars, or join a larger group of amateur astronomers who’ve brought their own telescopes out to share! Above all, have an awesome Science Friday!!!!