A short video compilation of some highlights from this annual event.
Excerpt from the May 2019 FoG Newsletter
by Greg Smith
Our evening with the Middle schoolers and their parents and teachers was a great success. A success on a couple of levels; first, that we were fulfilling our mission as a club, bringing night sky education to the community, second seeing how many people attended and brought their own telescopes, third teaching them about the night sky and what they could see from their own backyards.
I was personally surprised how many families brought their own telescopes. Some of them were learning how to put them together, some were learning how to aim them, and some were even sharing what they could see with those around them.
The students and adults that came to our scopes got to see binary stars, galaxies and star clusters that they had heard about but had never seen for themselves. A few were asking about how expensive the telescopes that we were using were. One dad looked a bit disappointed at the price, but I asked him if he had a spotting scope for hunting. He said he did. I told him he already had a telescope and he would be able to see the rings of Saturn with it. He was surprised that he would be able to see that, with a sigh relief. He realized that a spotting scope was really a telescope that could be used for more than hunting. Star gazing and bird watching were other activities that could be done year round. He found out that his binoculars were great astronomy tools as well. Here was a father who realized he already had the tools needed to explore the night sky with his son.
Indeed the evening at Cascade Middle School was a great success. We will see at the next meeting if we get some new visitors.
Ted, Mark, Becky, Tom and I had a great time and I am sure we all look forward to the next time we get to share with a group like this again. Becky, I’m sure you were an encouragement to the girls that they too can get involved with astronomy.
The Daily News had a story about Friends of Galileo watching the transit of Venus in 2012.
Click to read the story.
Join us for a Star Party!
Friends of Galileo members and guests are welcome to see what we can see in the night sky.
At past events, we've seen planets, galaxies, and shooting stars. We even arranged to have the International Space Station fly overhead!
Bring a telescope if you have one, but it's not required. See you there!
Where: Mike's (contact us for directions)
When: set up any time after 7:00 PM on Friday, September 7.
Alternate: the forecast isn't great for Friday so we may move the date to Saturday, September 8.
Confirmation: Ted will send out an email on Thursday.
It was a beautiful drive to the star party at Mount St. Helens last weekend. The event was coordinated by members of the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club (Longview, WA), Rose City Astronomers (Portland, OR) and the Mount St. Helens Institute.
Friendly people when we arrived, and - what scenery!
Now, it's one thing to see diagrams or photos of the stars and galaxies and planets, and to read explanations of just what the "ecliptic" is. But looking at photos in print or online is just not the same.
Just after sunset, we saw Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars arcing in the sky from horizon to horizon. To see the planets in such a magnificent clear sky, with the volcano below, that was stunning!
And that was the beginning of the show.
Later, we turned to telescopes brought to the mountain by club members. They helped me see the Ring Nebula (2,300 light years away!) and the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years - the light left there long before there were humans here!). But thinking about light years is very abstract.
What really got me was seeing the planets lined up just after sunset, and later seeing the rings of Saturn and the cloud bands of Jupiter, even the Red Spot, with my own eyes (and a bit of magnification!).
After spending most of my life in the Big City, here I was away from city lights, with people who had the telescopes and the knowledge to help me see for myself large parts of our solar system. And, up there on Coldwater Ridge, the skies were big and clear enough I didn't look at one little bit or another but I could see the span of the solar system.
With my own eyes.
We had a terrific Star Party at the Coldwater Ridge Science & Learning Center, hosted by Friends of Galileo (Longview), Rose City Astronomers (Portland), and the Mount St. Helens Institute..
Guest speakers, a portable planetarium, crafts for kids, a solar system walk, solar viewing, and a great dinner. All that was before sunset!
Then we saw Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars laid out on the ecliptic in a clear sky, with Mount St. Helens below. We saw meteors and galaxies, and the International Space Station flew by us to see what was going on. Great fun!
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.