Wednesday night 9/17 at MB

by Dan Wright

I brought my friend Dave Conlan to MB last night and introduced him to amateur astronomy. To start off, we looked through my 10" LX200 at Mars, then M31, M22, M13, M92 and some other candy. Next we walked up the line and mooched.

That was the impressive part for Dave. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. In the most patient and cordial manner, Mark Wagner took time to explain just how his CPT Newtonian worked, then showed several fine objects around Sagittarius at various powers.

Rich was offering Mars in his 6" refractor with Zeiss binoviewers. He had many guests to accommodate, but kept right on sharing graciously. Mars looked steady and detailed and "up close" (the impression that binoviewers often impart).

We caught Peter McKone in the middle of hunting a distant glob, but right away he took time to show my friend Dave what 15" of aperture can do for M22, M13, Mars, and other objects Dave had already observed in other scopes. This allowed Dave to compare and contrast views through scopes.

More than once Dave expressed feelings of surprise and delight that TAC people are so nice, and that the heavens are so vast and full of such strange objects. I'd like to thank everyone for sharing.

The other thing Dave liked was the treats I brought. He said he was hungry. Fortunately I had packed a thermos pump-pot full of boiling water from which we prepared cup-a-noodles and tea and hot cocoa, plus I had beer or root beer or water, and cookies and almonds and cherries. I told him amateur astronomy is often as much about tailgating (and socializing) as it is about observing.

Standing out directly upon the surface of the planet, looking up with one's face exposed to the cosmos, having good friends and a cup of steaming noodles at hand, life is pretty good at that.