Martian invasion last night

by Mark Wagner

Were you at Houge Park last night?

There was a Martian invasion.

I pulled into the parking lot around 6:45 p.m. and found most of the parking spaces full. There was some group there for "Mars" gathered by the playground, over 100 people having an al fresco Chinese food dinner. As darkness moved from east to west, the lot became nearly a gridlock, cars parked in every space, in every non-space, along the driveway in, double parked along the driveway in, and along all the side streets.

I have never seen Houge Park so packed.

People who never bring out their telescopes were there.

People who never looked through a telescope were there.

Did anyone do a scope count?

Some scopes had lines of 20 people or more.

I was showing deep sky targets and double stars until Mars was up high enough. Near midnight the seeing steadied up very nicely and lots of detail was popping out on the Martian surface.

I have never had such a busy night at Houge. It was a Martian invasion, but in this case, as Ray Bradbury said, we are the Martians.

At 12:30 a.m. countermeasures to disperse the Martians were implemented, when the sprinklers came on, scattering the crowd.

It was a fun night, from start to finish.

Next month, we're bringing shower caps along ;-)

SJAA... great job hosting a really fun event!