Michell Hepburn Star Party, May 23, 2012

Eight London Centre members turned out for the clear skies at the Michell Hepburn Public School Star Party in St. Thomas. They were: Harold Tutt, Matt Neima, Gaetan Godin, Phil Marusiak, Mike Roffey, Kelly Manson, Everett Clark, and Dave McCarter. Several parents also brought their telescopes to the show, which started with several white light filtered telescopes showing sunspots. 

Then people switched to the thin three day crescent moon, and the even thinner crescent Venus, which seemed to show more than 180 degrees of crescent. Mars was soon spotted, and even though it is tiny and lacks surface detail, the colour and atmosphere had people commenting on how it seemed to be burning. Saturn didn't disappoint, with some people making out at least three moons and the Cassini Division. Dave called attention to an Iridium flare at 21:34 which managed to get up to magnitude -7 and had people cheering and asking for the web site so they could see more. Observers also showed M13, Alberio, Mizar and Alcor, Epsilon Lyra, and a few other deep sky targets. Everyone had left the field by 10:30 and a few observers gathered at Timmies for a treat before heading home. We estimate 80 students and parents attended the evening, including a scout troop just finishing up their meeting.

By Dave McCarter