by Jane Houston Jones
Saturday night turned out to be a fine observing night for looking at Mars. I observed in two places. First at the Randall Museum where Jane and Mojo were helping out with Mars night and second at my own place in Pacifica.
Our Mars day and night was a huge success.
We had about 300 family-type attendeess from 2 - 6 p.m. doing a whole lot of things. Listening to Dr. Chris McKay, Mike Portuesi, and Akkana and me talk. And or making Mars isocohedrons, Galilean telescopes, running a Mars rover over Mars rocks, doing family astro activities, making Mars dust spheres, attending a starlab planetarium show and looking at sunspots. Or even decorating and eating Mars cookies. The science teacher at the museum made earth, moon and Mars papier mache globes to scale on the ceiling of the museum. She even had Phobos and Deimos to scale.
Between afternoon and evening, several of us walked to the slickensides wall., a 50 foot high polished chert wall just a block away from the museum. If you haven't seen this, it alone is worth a trip to the randall Museum.
After a chili dinner, we retreated to the observing areas with stunning views of San Francisco. Then we observed Mars and moon through about 13 telescopes, some there for the telescope clinic. Dave and Akkana were there with refractors. Mike Portuesi was there with his brand new 15-inch f/6 Litebox (which snagged Phobos and Deimos at Anza Borrego the previous weekend). Bob Berta was there with a C-8 for sun and Mars.
All these, plus more and Stacy (who manned the mighty 4.5 StarBlast for a while) helped serve up free scoops of Mars to over 500 people that night. We were still going strong at midnight, when the marine layer, right on schedule, took over the sky. Then a late night snack at Mel's Diner was in order.