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Thread: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

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    Default Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy



    The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland sponsored an "Astronomy Night" for last evening. The event featured both a USNA planetarium show and observing with the 7.75” Clark refractor. Planetarium shows (with STEM activity tables) were at Luce Hall (Naval Science building) from 6:00 to 7:30PM; observing was at the Class of ’41 Observatory (on the Academy’s main campus) from 7:30 to 9:00PM. The weather was forecast to be cloudy but with some clearing, but also cold (high 20's - low 30's) and windy (sometimes gusting to 30 mph). The Moon and Mars, with some star clusters and double stars, were planned targets.

    Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) members provided additional scopes to deal with the 200 or so Midshipman and Staff that had signed up for the event. I brought my Brandon 94 as well as my SV110ED but in the end used the SV110ED. I have no viewfinder mounted on the Brandon and wanted to quickly pickup objects through sucker holes. Other scopes included two dobs (a 6 inch and an 8 inch), an 8 inch Meade LX200, and a 6 inch Mak.

    The skies never gave up the clouds...and the wind chill must have been in the teen's! During breaks in the clouds we were able to show the 70 or so hearty souls that made their way from the planetarium the Moon, Mars, the Orion Nebula, Castor. At the very end when there was barely no sky left except for a small portion to the North, we could capture Mizar-Alcor which were barely above the trees! In spite of all this, the sponsors of the event...and those that made their way from the planetarium to the observatory...were very appreciative.

    Someone in a past AF thread asked about celestial navigation courses at the academy. According to one source, the academy curriculum includes a sequence of three celestial navigation courses that are required for "pilots and boat drivers".

    Dave

    Note: Attached photos are from a past USNA Outreach that are in one of my albums...still can't upload.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    I will be participating with RASC Halifax in an outreach event tonight with a similar forecast including snow flurries, which are happening already! Maybe the weather will improve.... :/
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Nice outing Dave, despite the clouds - which I am intimately familiar with here as well. That is one fine looking refractor!
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelldrake View Post
    I will be participating with RASC Halifax in an outreach event tonight with a similar forecast including snow flurries, which are happening already! Maybe the weather will improve.... :/
    Good luck to you and your group, David! With respect to our outreach, a major part of the effort was to show the technology (the T in STEM) used by amateurs. We had a lot of good discussion with the visitors in that regard.

    Dave
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    Nice outing Dave, despite the clouds - which I am intimately familiar with here as well. That is one fine looking refractor!
    Thanks, Alan! It is a great looking scope...and performs pretty well...although I'm looking forward to a much better night to do some lengthy observing. As you may recall from my earlier thread, that scope was in storage for a good number of years and then restored by D&G Optics in PA to be put back into the renovated Class '41 Observatory.

    Dave
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Hi Dave!

    Nice outreach event reporting, my friend.

    Too bad the relentless clouds couldn't cut you some slack. But you made some nice lemonade from the lemons!
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by combat48 View Post
    Thanks, Alan! It is a great looking scope...and performs pretty well...although I'm looking forward to a much better night to do some lengthy observing. As you may recall from my earlier thread, that scope was in storage for a good number of years and then restored by D&G Optics in PA to be put back into the renovated Class '41 Observatory.

    Dave
    The storage of the optics was because the metal in the scope (including the lens cell as I recall) was donated to the WW II war effort. The objective was stored at the USNO in DC.
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Quote Originally Posted by not_Fritz_Argelander View Post
    The storage of the optics was because the metal in the scope (including the lens cell as I recall) was donated to the WW II war effort. The objective was stored at the USNO in DC.
    The entire history of the observatory and telescope can be found here: https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/49...iston_2002.pdf. Very interesting history and great read!

    "According to the report..."The objective was originally mounted in what is believed to have been a wooden tube, complete with a dew-cap and a 4.4 cm (1.7 in.) aperture fll1.7 finder. The tube was supported by a clock-driven German equatorial mounting on a brick and cast iron pier, and the drive clock was regulated by a Bond spring governor. The telescope was supplied with seven different eyepieces and a filar micrometer (Soley, 1876). In an old USNA report dating to 1869, Phythian noted that the telescope was" ... one of the best in the state ... ", but these laudatory comments need to be taken in context given that there were very few 'competitors' in Maryland
    at that time with which to compare it."

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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Very nice outreach and turnout Dave, despite the cold and clouds! Thanks for sharing the pics too.
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    Default Re: Another USNA Outreach...Cold, Windy and Cloudy

    Very satisfying that the public saw quite a lot of celestial targets. I think they didn't notice the clouds like you guys did. Well done!
    A beautiful and impressive refractor and observing centre! Bit of jealous!
    Thanks for your report!
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