A Cold View of Jupiter

I helped out at a Think Tank at Maury Elementary School in DC by setting up a telescope I built and letting kids and parents and staff look at Jupiter.

me freezing at Maury Elementary

I am glad I was prepared with warm clothing, otherwise I would have had to give up, because it was not only cold (what, 15 degrees or so?) but also windy. That white stuff on the ground is snow. But it was quite clear, and Jupiter and its moons put on a nice, symmetrical show. It was a lot of fun for me, and it seemed to be a hit among kids and adults whose expressions of pleasure and amazement I should have recorded.

Jupiter was putting on a nice show as usual, with two moons on one side and two moons on the other.

This is a picture I stole from the ‘Hill Rag’ which shows a couple of female staff members checking out the view of Jupiter before the lines of kids and adults got going. I’m the bearded guy with the brown overalls in the back. The scope is a Dobsonian truss-tube alt-az-mounted Newtonian scope that I built, with a 12.5″-diameter f/5 mirror that I traded some glass for. I did NOT grind and polish this one, for a change. I did a good bit of the work at the amateur telescope-making workshop of the National Capital Astronomers, which I was representing.

Turns out that Maury ES is a bit over 3 miles directly south of my house in NE DC. (Appears to be a gentrifying public school.)

Towards the end of the evening, a kid informed me that I had frozen snot on my mustache!

Published in: on January 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Getting people to look as you did is a lot of fun. I love to hear their exclamations.

    Several years ago in the summer, Venus was positioned as an evening object. I knew where to look for it in the middle of the afternoon. I set up my Astroscan on the sidewalk in downtown Iowa City as people came and went from a jazz festival. I invited them to see Venus. It was a nice crescent. Many said ‘that’s the moon, right?’

    Nice job with the Jupiter viewing. Too cold here lately to look. It will be -16˚ tonight.

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  2. Cool telescope. I once ground an 8 inch lens but never had the mirror coating put on it. It was later damaged in a fire and had to be thrown out.

    I once worked at a school that had an 8 inch Celestron telescope with clock drive. I used to try to get parents to bring their kids out one night in the Spring to look through it, without much success

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