International Astronomy Day was celebrated in Rockwood Park on April 29 with members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Saint John Astronomy Club, and members of the public. About 50-60 people showed up.
EVENT: Public Stargazing Night
WHERE: Rockwood Park Bark Park
WHEN: Saturday, April 29 from 9 – 11 pm
Despite less than ideal conditions, several telescopes were set up for observing the treasures of the night sky. Craters on Moon, Mars, and Jupiter with its cloud belts, 4 moons and a giant storm called the Great Red Spot. As darkness set in we also observed star clusters, galaxies millions of light years away, and an interstellar cloud where stars are forming called the Orion nebula.
From Curt Nason, April 21:
April 24 -30 is International Astronomy Week, and April 29 is Astronomy Day. Astronomy Day had its beginning in 1973 in California when amateur astronomers set up telescopes in busy urban areas to let people have views of the Moon and planets, hence its motto of “Bringing Astronomy to the People.” Astronomy Day is usually held on the Saturday nearest the first quarter Moon between mid-April and mid-May. Ten years ago a Fall Astronomy Day was added between mid-September and mid-October, when sunset is earlier and the weather is often better for observing.
Sidewalk astronomy, setting telescopes up in within a busy area of a community, is a popular activity during Astronomy Week. Often people will question why we are set up there, near streetlights, when their expectation is that nothing can be seen. The Moon and most planets, those celestial objects having the greatest “Wow Factor” for first-time observers, are bright enough that lighting has little effect on the views. If they are intrusive you can simply block them with your hand. Sidewalk observing events are often done on short notice, depending on the weather and whether the Moon or planets are visible.
Astronomers in Saint John are celebrating Astronomy Day with public observing at the Rockwood Park Bark Park (using the Fisher Lakes entrance to the park) from 9 pm to 11 pm, with Sunday (April 30) as a back-up date in case it is cloudy on Saturday. The Moon, Jupiter and Mars will hold court until after twilight. As darkness falls a variety of telescopes will be turned toward star clusters, double stars, galaxies, maybe a comet, and more. Such events are great places to learn the constellations, have questions answered, and to scope out any equipment you might have thought about buying. If you need a break from hockey playoffs, please join us.
Bringing astronomy to the people; hoping to bring more people to astronomy. Happy Astronomy Week!
You can also respond to our Facebook Event:
International Astronomy Day Public Stargazing Night