Hi everyone. We had a very productive January meeting.
Solstice Lantern Walk awards
The Friends of Galileo organized Longview's first-ever Solstice Lantern Walk through the Solar System on December 21, 2018. It was a great success!
Our judges, Marin, Noel and Ava, announced the winner of the Out of this World Award for best planet. They came up with the criteria:
After visiting each planet, they gave the award to the Lilac Academy for Bright and Curious Girls for their display at Saturn.
Hazel and Ila, and parents Matt and Sarah, did a terrific job. They had a brightly-lit booth, information about their planet and about women in space, and even LED-lit hula hoops for Saturn's rings. They also lit the path of the Solstice Lantern Walk with luminarias - for at least 500 feet!
Friends of Galileo presented them with a planesphere and a red LED flashlight to help them continue their astronomical explorations.
We also had a number of online votes. Our judges gave the People's Choice Award to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington for their display at Venus. Venus definitely had the longest lines of interested people. Well done!
And we were pleased to have so many of our planet sponsors present at the meeting.
Thank you all for coming!
Mark Thorson spoke on "Limiting Magnitude," that is, how we calculate the relative brightness of stars. The system we still use today has its origins with the Greek astronomer Hipparchus - over 2,000 years ago!
The club has a few more events to consider. Will we participate in the following?
Happy New Year and thank you Longview!
We had a terrific turnout Dec. 21 for our first-ever Solstice Lantern Walk through the Solar System.
We brightened the longest night and celebrated the return of longer days and met great people. Here are some highlights.
Under clear skies and a nearly full moon, we estimate that 400 - 500 people walked from the Sun to Pluto. What a great bunch of happy people - many walkers were dressed up with lanterns and lights.
Our route followed the Solar System Walk given to the City of Longview by the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club in 2001. The walk is a series of granite markers showing the relative distances between the Sun and the planets. The markers follow the path on the west side of Lake Sacajawea, over 1.64 miles.
(Map of Solar System Walk)
We had passports for people to take to each planet to get a stamp. The event was so popular we ran out of passports. Thank you to Pat and Rena at Copies Today / Speedy Litho for donating the printing for our passports! They looked great!
We had a variety of community groups sponsoring planets or otherwise helping with this event.
The planets were lit up in a small way or in a big way. Kids got candy at several planets, and people got to know some of the great clubs in our community.
Our judges Marin, Ava and Noel walked the whole route and judged each planet on these criteria:
We had online votes as well, for the People's Choice Award.
We will announce the winner of the Out of This World Award at our next club meeting (details below).
* * * * *
If you walked the whole Solar System (3.7 billion miles!), you saw:
The Sun - Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club started off the event with lanterns and passports and candy for the kids.
Mercury - Kelso Freemasons Lodge #94 demonstrated that Masons are solid people. We had sponsors who had physical difficulties setting up and taking down - thank you Mike, Don, Craig, and Katie for jumping right in to help.
Venus - Girl Scouts of Western Washington made Venus one of our most popular planets. They even had line ups! It might have had something to do with cookies. And thank you, Girl Scouts, for also helping other sponsors.
Earth - Longview Garden Club had an interesting projection on the inside of their canopy. Did you see it?
Santa Claus - He traveled between the Sun and Mars. Ho ho ho!
Mars - Shinju Dojo Aikido was our first planet sponsor! A lot of people were interested to learn about a low-impact, non-competitive martial art, taught right here in Longview.
Jupiter - Longview Freemasons Lodge #263 sure added a lot of light to a dark evening, with an antique lantern collection.
Saturn - The Lilac Academy for Bright and Curious Girls did a terrific job with a booth - and with lighting up the path for hundreds of feet. Well done, home schoolers!
(They're awesome and really should make a web site)
Uranus - The Boy Scouts of America, Cascade Pacific Council didn't just have a good set up and interesting information about their planet ("12 Facts About Uranus"!), they added s'mores and a warming tent! Both were very welcome at that point in the walk.
Sacajawea - Stageworks Northwest Theatre definitely had the largest planet team. Check out their plays - maybe next time we can talk them into short performances during the Solstice Walk.
Neptune - Even with TWO astronomy clubs involved in this event, the Mount St. Helens Hiking Club was the only one to bring along a telescope.
Pluto - Four members of Rose City Astronomers came all the way from Portland to set up at the far end of the solar system. Check out their calendar for events next time you're in Portland.
The Space Shuttle
Friends of Galileo member Chuck Ring drove a van between the Sun and Pluto for those unable to walk the round trip. Phil Sari of Columbia Ford generously loaned us the van. Thank you, Phil and Chuck!
Thank you also to
- Andrea Horton of Gyros Gyros Restaurant for your generous financial donation
(Gyros-Gyros on Facebook)
- Emiley Siters for loaning us canopies from Youth and Family Link
Most of all, thank you everyone who came out for a new event!
You got a chance to meet some of the terrific people here in Longview and to learn about local clubs.
* * * * *
Do you want another Solstice Lantern Walk in 2019?
Come to the next meeting of Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club and help make it happen.
7:00 PM, Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Mark Morris High School, Physics classroom D8
(Directions and map on our About page)
Happy New Year!
Great news, everyone!
A lot of things are coming together for Longview's first-ever Solstice Walk through the Solar System.
If a round trip us too long a walk for you, we have a donated van to take small groups from one end to the other (thank you Phil Sari at Columbia Ford!).
Start your walk at either end, but be sure to get a passport.
What's all this about?
We're going to bring light and cheer to the longest night of the year, and welcome the start of longer days.
This free event will be 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM on the solstice, Friday December 21. We will meet at the south end of Lake Sacajawea Park and enjoy a lantern walk to the north end (about 1.6 miles).
We will follow the path on the west side of the lake, and look for the granite markers representing the sun and planets. This model solar system was a gift to the city of Longview from the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club.
A variety of Longview and Kelso groups and clubs will set up at each planet marker, with lanterns to brighten your walk. This is a non-commercial event, just local groups and clubs pitching in to start a new Longview tradition.
It's not too late to make lanterns!
The more lanterns we have, the better!
Bring some for your self, maybe bring extras to trade.
Balloon lanterns are super cheap and easy to make, and they look great at night. Here are some ideas.
How to make balloon lanterns
How to make luminarias
... and here
More info at our Solstice page (https://www.friendsofgalileo.com/solstice.html)
Our event on Facebook
We had a great November meeting. We had a number of visitors, and one joined the club. Welcome Debra!
Howard Knytych, of Rose City Astronomy in Portland, spoke on "Living in the Middle of the Universe."
Our Christmas party will be at River's Edge. We'll have a potluck and a gift exchange (small, low-value items, maybe astronomy related). Look for a separate email with details.
We talked about various issues related to the upcoming Solstice Lantern Walk through the Solar System. More info to come via web site, Facebook, email.
Our January meeting will be January 16 at 7:00 PM in physics room D8, Mark Morris High School. We'll be back to meeting on the third Wednesday of each month.
We had several successful events this month.
On the 2nd, Greg and Roy went to Lake Sacajawea to clean up the Solar System Walk and make sure it's in good shape (it is!). Friends of Galileo gave the Walk to the City of Longview in 2001.
We had our monthly meeting on the 17th. We had a great turnout, and two new members (welcome Ray and John!).
NASA Ambassador Les Hastings gave us an update on NASA missions, from local satellites to missions under development to the status of the Voyager spacecraft. It was fascinating!
FoG members also supported a motion to organize Longview's first-ever Solstice Solar System Walk at Lake Sacajawea. Much more information to follow - stay tuned, volunteers needed!
Then, on the 20th, FoG members joined astronomy enthusiasts across the US for National View the Moon Night. We gathered at our usual Sidewalk Astronomy location and had a great turnout. One family wanted help setting up a telescope they received as a gift (it works just fine now, thanks to Greg).
We also welcomed a few people who were a bit baffled by the unexpected group of telescopes as they drove by. We persuaded them to have a look at the moon and at Saturn's rings. They were delighted.
Viewing events will be limited now that we are in monsoon season, but do join us for our next monthly meeting in physics classroom D8 at Mark Morris High School on November 14, 7:00 PM.
The sun came out for today's work party.
We inspected and cleaned all the polished granite plaques which are part of the Solar System Walk at Lake Sacajawea. It was a gift to the City of Longview from Friends of Galileo in 2001.
The Walk is a scale model of our solar system, representing relative sizes and distances of the sun and planets.
In our model, the sun is 24" across. Pluto is 1/20" and 1.64 miles away. In reality, Pluto is 1,413 miles across and 3.7 billion miles from the sun, which is 864,000 miles in diameter.
As you enjoy Lake Sacajawea, keep an eye out for the sun and planets. The Walk is along the path on the west side of the lake.
You can download a self-guided tour to help you find your way through our solar system.
Well, that was fun!
We had a number of FoG members turn out tonight and we had three telescopes on the go. Mars was a bit of a blob - but we got to see Mars! Saturn was nice and crisp, with rings and Titan visible. Vega, Deneb and Altair kept watch right over head.
Thanks to all the visitors who came by, including several families and Girl Scouts!
We hope to see y'all at our October 17 meeting.
We have our meeting schedule through the school year.
Visitors and new members welcome!
All meetings will be at 7:00 PM at Mark Morris High School, in the LGIC (Large Group Instructional Center) on the west side of the building. Dates:
Dec. - Christmas party;
date and location to be announced
Our usual agenda: club business, Sky Report, educational video or lecture, light refreshments.
The Daily News had a story about Friends of Galileo watching the transit of Venus in 2012.
Click to read the story.
FOG Members and Friends,
Due to the ongoing teacher's strike in Longview, Steve Powell has been unable to secure our meeting room for the September 19 FOG meeting.
So instead, Bill Norvell has graciously reserved the President's Room at Canterbury Park (1335 3rd Ave, Longview) for our September 19 meeting. This is the same location where we held our August meeting.
Hope to see you there!
FOG Vice President / Program Chair
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.