This Saturday, I went to my second star party, and no, we didn’t dance or eat food while we worshipped the stars. A star party is an event in which people interested in astronomy gathers to show off their telescopes and observe a few stars. After the drive through the dark, curvy road (a bit scary, if you ask me), it turns out that I missed in seeing Jupiter, daggnabit! I just have never seen Jupiter through a telescope, so you can see the disappointment I had.
On the other hand, I got to see a few double stars. We didn’t look to a lot of things because of the stupid clouds. While we were waiting for clouds to clear up in a certain area, I noticed a bright dot crossing the sky, which was probably a man made object. Not only that, a few guys there mentioned the International Space Station would be crossing. Was that the ISS?! If it was, cool, if it wasn’t… I am still OK with it. I mean, it is a freaking man made object that people have put up there! An impressive accomplishment that even if it was just a small satellite, I still would have thought it was cool.
After waiting a while, a guy decided to find the Ring Nebula. It was somewhat of a miracle that he found it quickly, since he told everyone that the day before, it took him a while to find it, and he lost it everytime he tried to focus the camera in the telescope. Now, when you look at a nebula through a telescope, it is not like in the pictures where they show flashy colors. It was kind of like a dark blue fog. Now, it may seem dull, but I liked it. It was a remnant from some sort of dying star, which I think is cool. He tried to take a picture of it, but unfortunately, the light didn’t arrive at the plane of where the camera is supposed to grab the photons at. It took a while, since he tried various things to focus the image, but alas, the lens of the telescope wasn’t meant to have pictures taken with. At least I had the chance to try a very large scope, which I rotated everywhere. If it weren’t for the trees and the fact that the eyepiece was high up in the scope, I would have seen more. In the end, they did manage to take a picture of a blue star, which was kind of like a doughnut with a dark center, and a very bright halo.
The star party wasn’t as eventful as last time. I bet that everyone was pessimistic that the cloud would clear, which it did, though there still were a whole bunch of patches. Clouds, they are the bane of all astronomers. The last thing I got to observe was a double double, which is basically a 4 star system, in which 2 tightly revolving pairs revolved around each other. I still wanted to see the planets, though (Stupid planets, being in undesireable parts of the sky). After that, I left, and I was rewarded with a piece of pizza, chips (Wha? I just don’t want to say french fries, it is kind of long, wait, this side comment is longer than french fries… I should have gone with french fries 🙂 ), and burgers.