Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Metuchen, New Jersey had a good turn out for their star party....

... and there were many young adults that hung with us throughout the cloudy hours. Metuchen  is a suburb of New York City and it's Bortle Class is 8... that's next to highest light pollution on the Bortle scale which goes from 1 to 9.
However, Jupiter, the half-Moon and Saturn were the first things to look at and they looked great under a good seeing sky. There was a six inch and an eight inch Dobsonian that got the kid's attention right away with their awesome views but it was my little 4.5 inch Star Blast from Orion that really impressed them! I love bringing it to star parties because it's a great contrast to the larger more expensive scopes.
They were surprised to see the quality of the optics and also tended to compare it to the two larger scopes on their own.
The older kids kept coming back to my little scope and finally asked how much it cost... it's reasonable price was one more reason they said they liked it.
Of course, I collimated the scope just before everyone showed up.... to make sure it stood up to the scrutiny. That took all of about two minutes!
Then I put my wide field eyepiece in place and they saw the half-Moon and Saturn together in one view!
Deal closed!!!
The older kids stuck around for almost two hours waiting for the clouds to break and every now and then they'd get to see a double star before the clouds filled in again. Earlier, they also saw the International Space Station fly-by and that garnered many wow's too! Considering it's been soaring overhead for more than twenty years, it still never get's old.

Considering that the night sky was mostly cloudy, I'd say mission accomplished!

       L-R: Wayne Petko, Ethan Catalanello, Sarah Terracinoa, Dave Nelson, Keith Marley

A good tool for getting a site's Bortle Class  number for it's light pollution rating, download "Clear Outside" app by First Light Optics to your phone. The device's GPS will give you the Bortle Class number based on your location and you can save several sites to it. As you can see in the photo below, other helpful information is also provided.

 How to find your Bortle Scale class

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