An Evening at Lowell Observatory

I had an enjoyable evening at Lowell Observatory tonight. The Coconino Astronomical Society met there at 6:00 pm, and I was asked to share the Vandenberg launch photos from last month. Brent Archinal shared some very nice shots of the launch he got from Snowbowl Road as well as photos of the Cape Canaveral launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. After the meeting, a couple of us set up our scopes outside the Rotunda to share the view with visitors. The weather wasn’t looking very good before the meeting started, but it had cleared nicely afterward, and we spent about an hour and a half sharing the sky with folks. Because it was a nearly full moon, and some high clouds were floating around, DSO viewing didn’t seem in order. So I pulled up a nice full-disc view of the moon, while another CAS member (I’m afraid I forget his name) drew a bead on Mars. I enjoy the reactions people have to seeing these distant, unusual and beautiful objects. One little girl got a real kick out of it and kept getting back in line to see it until her parents called time-out and hustled her off to their next destination. The clouds started to move in about 9:00 pm, but I was able to snag some photos before tearing the scope down. It’s a great place to do some casual observing.