ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE - 2012 THE STELLARVUE MOTHERSHIP VISITS GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK
Great Basin National Park in Nevada is a beautiful, fully protected wilderness. We took the Stellarvue Mothership there to present an evening Astronomy Program and view the eclipse
Vic and Buddy pause to view through a park telescope on the road to the high elevation summit. Buddy was not particularly impressed with the optics but admired how the telescope was built like a tank.
SATURDAY NIGHT ASTRONOMY PROGRAM - VIC’S MAJESTY OF THE NIGHT SKY
Vic reconnected with Ranger Steve Moore. Both Vic and Steve served as rangers in California.
Vic’s program was conducted at the upper visitor center. The program was projected on the parks interpretive equipment trailer, then we viewed through telescopes
Here Vic shows a budding astronomer the planet Venus through his SV115 refractor. When asked why it was a crescent Vic said that Galileo would explain this during the program. He did.
The first object we viewed after the program was Saturn. While the seeing was rough, some did make out Cassini’s division. The image above approximates how it looked at its best, when the air steadied.
THE ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE - SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Ranger Kelly leads interpretive programs at Great Basin. The park had two C11 telescope and a Meade Ha scope. One of the C11’s was hooked up to a large flat screen.
Steve Moore showed off some solar prominences through the parks solar scope. A couple of other amateur astronomers also helped out including Rick, a Stellarvue customer who brought his Lunt Solar scope on MG2 mount.
Park staff demonstrated the enthusiasm that NPS is known for. Ranger Carolyn was particularly concerned with public safety and continually reminded people not to look directly at the sun.
I enjoyed the interpretive techniques Carolyn employed. When speaking with small children she pointed out that the cookie monster was taking a bite out of the sun. The young kids would reply, “YEAH!”
Hundreds of people showed up here at this remote park to view the eclipse. Many families. Great to see so many people enjoying science together.
For some, it was the first time they had ever looked through a telescope. Our SV115 was mounted on the MG2 and I used a Baader white light filter and ES 14 mm eyepiece.
People kept asking why the image was sharper in my SV115T. Jan kept me in check.
“Oh man...this is really sharp. Seriously? That large spot is the size of the Earth?! Awesome!
See the spots. They look like pepper. That’s how you know it’s hot.
Those are cool spots on the sun. They are only a few thousand degrees.
Then...just when everyone felt safe...Galileo showed up.
Galileo cannot believe his eyes. Flames on the sun’s surface. Ranger Steve is in stitches.
Everybody loves Galileo. Naturally.
When the ranger handed Galileo a plastic bottle of water he was amazed. He had never seen glass that was flexible like this. “Do the people in Venice know about this glass?”
When this girl and her brother tried to explain to Galileo what plastic was the conversation became priceless. If only we had video taped it. She got very frustrated trying to explain plastic to a guy who was over 450 years old.
Ranger Steve. Outstanding in his field
Ranger Steve and Galileo.
The Three Amigos
Now that was awesome!
Since 1916 American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, NPS proudly safeguards nearly 400 special places and shares their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.
Many parks like Great Basin National Park provide a place where people can view the night sky as it used to appear hundreds of years ago. Help us support the National Park Service and the International Dark Sky Association. These two organizations are working hard to preserve our dark sky heritage.
Great Basin Photo courtesy of The National Park Service
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