Thanks go to all the visitors and astronomy enthusiasts who joined the Michiana Astronomical Society for the 2009 Telescope Renaissance. A selection of photos are in the Telescope Renaissance set on Flickr.
Date:Friday, August 28,2009
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., followed by Sidewalk Astronomy
Location: Toscana Park; north of SR23 off Gumwood Rd in Mishawaka, IN
"Bring Out Your Your Dead...Telescope"
It’s time to bring your old telescope out of the attic or basement and give it new life. To celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Galileo’s looking through a telescope for the first time, the Michiana Astronomical Society (MAS) will help evaluate your telescope, make minor repairs, show you how to use it, and reintroduce you to the wonders of the night. All ages--and levels of telescope sophistication--are welcome, whether you bring a scope or not.
Activities for All
Visitors can also make a star-finding wheel; learn constellations in a portable planetarium; discover how telescopes work with hands-on activities; or practice telescope skills with a first quarter moon.
If you are looking to purchase a new telescope, MAS members can offer guidance and hands-on use of their equipment. The Telescope Renaissance will segue into informal sidewalk astronomy after sunset.
See the 3D model (made from 35,000 LEGO® blocks) showing the results of the Let There Be Night experiment by over 3,400 local students. The model is on display through August 2009 inside Villa Macri at Toscana Park.
No Cash For Clunker Program
Got a clunker telescope? We have no government cash, but MAS will give you an honest assessment. Consider donating your under-used telescopes, binoculars, or accessories, which the MAS will try to match up with an eager stargazer. As bad as your telescope view may be, it's likely better than what Galileo had 400 years ago, and he was able to change the world with that limited view.
If your telescope is a real dud, we may recycle it in unknown ways, such as slicing it in half to show others how a telescope works. At least your telescope would likely be of more value in two halves than if you kept it stowed away in one whole.
As nightfall approaches, telescope astronomy will likely follow on the piazza at Toscana Park. Weather permitting, MAS members will set up their telescopes near the fountain. Make this the night you celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's looking through a telescope, and begin your own quest to witness some of Galileo's key observations. Sidewalk astronomy targets on August 28 include the waxing moon, Jupiter and it's moons, and the disappearing Milky Way.
From the intersection of Cleveland Rd. (SR23) and Gumwood Rd. (where Main St. in Mishawaka becomes Gumwood Rd.), go north about a quarter mile to the entrance of Toscana Park, shown below.
Google Map's satellite view shows Toscana as an empty field, not as its current retail area.
Members of the Michiana Astronomical Society will evaluate telescopes and conduct activities in the storefront left of AllStars (right), in the back northeast corner of the retail area. Sidewalk astronomy will likely be at twilight in the Villa Macri piazza, near the fountain.
At 4:00 p.m. the sun is flanked by planets. Mercury and Saturn to the left; Venus down and to the right. They're there, but lost in the daytime sky.
Moon data for Friday, August 28, 2009, at 9:00 p.m.
Yes, the Telescope Renaissance is happening during daylight hours. And we will be looking at the moon. That alone--a daytime moon--every child should see. Without a telescope.
Follow Discovery and the ISS as they pass overhead. From Michiana, the ISS is visible low and to the north during the next several mornings. ISS sighting opportunities are also at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html.
Check out mision specialist Astro_Jose on Twitter, shortly before launch day: "In crew quarters at L-2. Went to astro beach house. Big waves due to Bill. Saw 50 baby turtles head for the water from their nest @ sunset." What do you think that beach looks like from the ISS as it passes over at night? The Turtle Hatch activity is another perspective from the Let There Be Night program.
August 28 Update: Space Shuttle Discovery Launches NASA TV following the mission of STS-128 at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html after successful night launch.
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Countdown clock: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/shuttle_station/index.html.
Landing Date and Time: Sept. 6 at 8:40 p.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Description: Space shuttle Discovery will use Leonardo, a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to carry experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station.
You can try to see the ISS during the day, too, though it will be more of a challenge. See ISS pass predictions from August 28, 2009, around the Telescope Renaissance , courtesy of Chris Peat at Heavens-Above. Shown are the time, altitude (degrees above horizon), and azimuth (compass heading from you).
Jupiter & Moons
Jupiter's moons, shown for 11:00 p.m., are among the highlights Galileo witnessed 400 years ago. See it for yourself. Jupiter will be the brilliant star-like object low and rising in the southeast after twilight.
Nothing is guaranteed. Weather permitting, MAS members will likely have telescopes set up for sidewalk astronomy the evening of August 28. Regardless of weather, you are welcome to visit the Telescope Renaissance indoors, where there will be activities, a portable planetarium, telescopes targeting objects, and MAS members offering guidance. Bring your friends and parents, and a telescope if you wish. Telescope service is based on availabilty of MAS volunteers. Capacity in dome is limited.
For a hint of the weather conditions, visit a different kind of weather forecast. One that amateur astronomers consider before they use their telescopes. See the PHM Planetarium Clear Sky Chart.
Spread the Word
Thanks for making copies of this flyer and sharing news of the event.
Keep Looking Up
Astronomy interests in the Michiana area have diverse web pages for kids, parents, educators, government leaders, amateur astronomers, and the general public. See links to local astronomy (PDF file) for more web listings.
Michiana Astronomical Society
Let There Be Night
Teaching with Nature
Paper Plate Educaton
IYA Dark Skies Awareness
Ideas for Local Student Projects (Dark Skies)
Thanks go to Jerry and Margy Macri for availing space in Toscana Park for the Telescope Renaissance. Toscana Park has been the site of other astronomy adventures, including the total lunar eclipse in February 2008.