Surprise treat at Pacheco

by Mike Ruddy

Jamie Dillon very kindly wrote:

We had a nice bunch of visitors, more kids than last month at this time, everyone had relaxed fun. TAC has a new enthusiast, Mike Ruddy, who hung out in 35 degree weather and had a real good time. Has starhopping talent and a genuinely searching intellect.

Welcome, Mike.

Thanks so much for the nod, Jamie

Pacheco was a great night out ... While Jamie was off socializing I commandeered the Dob and practiced by finding a couple globs, M81 and M82, split Castor and stumbled upon a couple of galaxies I couldn't begin to tell you what they were and managed to do it all looking suitably amateurish.

thanks to the many who have put up with my questions: Marek Cichanski, Bob Czerwinski, Albert Highe, Jim Bartolini, Matthew Marcus, Reverand Dave, Steve Sergeant, and a host of other unlit faces.... the welcome has been warm of heart even if not literally warm. Thank you all for the jump start! You have been more help than you may realize.

Looking forward to more starparties like you are looking forward to me having my own scope! :-)

Jamie Dillion wrote:

Ruddy, to my knowledge you were in fact hunting globs, M3 and M5. Be careful, M81 and M82 are galaxies.

Oops... my train-of-thought writing made it seem as if I was calling M81 & 82 globs but yes, I remember now it was M3, M5, and M13 in the globular department.

I was just happy with being able to find M81 and M82 :-)

But aside from all the highlights of that night, this one stands out:

I was quietly fumbling around the sky, er.... observing when I heard a small voice:

"What are you looking at?"

I peered over the eyepiece to see the top of three small heads....closer inspection revealed three boys - the oldest appeared to be about 8, obviously brothers.

I didn't have the courage to reply that I was wondering the same thing... I kept it to myself.

"Can we look too?"

"Sure..." I picked a nice safe easy target - Jupiter - confident thatI could find it, dial it in, and set up the observing chair all before their next birthdays.

The oldest says - "Wow, I can see stripes on the moon" "lemme see" says the next in line. He climbs up and takes a peek. Meanwhile, junior is jumping up and down dying to get in on the action with his brothers. He's reaching up to me to lift him up to the eyepiece. The little guy is about an f4.7

I lift him up and put his feet on the chair and he's still on his toes to reach the eyepiece.

"Don't let me go!"

He's really leaning in to it now.

"Oh wow. I can see it!" He's out on the ledge, hanging in space looking in to the past.... I can already see the future. In twenty years he'll think back about his precarious position at the top of what he recalls asa 20foot telescope looking at the "stripes on the moon".

"That's Jupiter", I said kindly.... but I didn't care that they weren't listening to me. I didn't squelch the enthusiam with a correction of target..... that'll come in due time. For now, they saw what they saw and that is enough.

"Thanks!" They depart in a blur of excited chatter, on to the next scope.

And somehow I did arrive ... a little late, maybe, but I have begun to turn the favor.

I love stargazing.