October 2015 Travels
I have been MIA for quite a few weeks providing programs and training. I presented a program to the Central Coast Astronomers in San Luis Obispo. Afterward we observed a couple of objects using my SVR102T. Many veteran Dob guys had never seen a perfect airy disk before so they were all impressed!
For the past 10 days I have been in the Southwest. The Chief of Interpretation for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks asked me to provide some training for their rangers and to present some evening programs with "my volunteers."
Jim Bessette, Bruce Agee, Mark and Becky Knogge joined in the fun. Jan, Buddy the Wonder Dog and our new Bigfoot Trailer/Ford F150 were also there. A good time was had by all!
Thursday night Ranger Mike introduced the evening program at the campfire center at Arches National Park. He turned the program over to me and I used a laser pointer to point out constellations, tell some Native American Legends and then assist park visitors in doing some binocular viewing. Then we walked over to the telescopes.
Ranger Mike had a Celestron 6SE, I had my SVR102T, Bruce had his SVA127DF and Jim had his Webster 22" Dob. We had more than 100 people viewing the stars with us under some high clouds.
On Friday Night I presented my Majesty of the Night Sky at the visitor center in Moab.
On Saturday Night we presented a night sky program at Canyonlands National Park which just won status as an official IDA Dark Sky Site. It was truly dark. This time we had Jim's 22", Bruce's SVA127DF, Mark and Becky Knogge had their new SVA130T, I had the SVR102T and Crystal White the State Park Ranger from Dead Horse Point State Park had a 12" Dob. Wonderful views were shown to another 100 people under a very dark sky.
I was very proud of my friends who joined me. They all did a fabulous job introducing people to the night sky using their equipment. Their interpretation of the night sky and each object was interesting and fun.
Sunday Night I did a three hour training program for State and National Park Rangers/Guides/interpreters at the visitor center at Arches National Park. My background of 30 years in California State Parks included many years as Regional Interpretive Specialist where I trained and evaluated interpretive programs in the 74 parks in Northern California. Training and evaluating rangers in educating people was one of my favorite jobs during my former career. Doing this training was a joy for me. It brought me back to some of the best experiences I had as a ranger. After the classroom portion we went outside and had rangers set up their gear. The veteran rangers taught those newer to night time interpretation in how to set up and use the gear. Most of their equipment included Celestron Go To SCT's. Crystal had her 12" Dob. Both Jim Bessette and I assisted here.
This was such a positive experience that I have already reserved the group site at Arches National Park for the new moon in October. There is truly no place like Arches National Park. I am already looking forward to going back!
I want to thank Jim, Bruce, Mark and Becky for their assistance in presenting the two evening star programs. The lines were long but manageable, thanks to all of you.
I returned home late last night and this morning I head to the Advanced Imaging Conference in the Bay Area with Daniel. We will both staff our booth, he will attend training while I continue to try and catch up and get some sleep in between.
It has been an action packed month. As the Beatles put it, "I get by with a little help from my friends." This includes my staff back at Stellarvue who have kept on on our rigorous production schedule in my absence. Having good people is essential and I am truly blessed here.
Now where will I go next?