Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ok Now I Am Sure Cycle 24 Is Real

We have been tracking Cycle 24 for a few weeks now with minimal activity The polarity of the wee little spots say that yes we are in cycle 24 but I just was not buying it until we had a significant sun spot. Well Folks, yesterday about thirty minutes before the sun set into the trees of Dater Montessori school. I had Sunspot 1029 in my sights. The Cincinnati Astronomical society was doing a public outreach on the 24th and I had brought my Telescope out to show to the 200 plus that came for this fall festival. I thought hey if the clouds clear out enough I will setup and see if we can take a look at ole Sol. We were set up right next to the Live animal display and we thought oh boy great... as the kids darted right past these Old fat guys with Telescopes and right to the Black Vulture held by one of the parks people. It turned out to be OK as they would come back to us and would marvel at our scopes and ask questions about our club and what we do. We were thinking we needed a box of Puppies named Io, Callisto, Ganymede and Europa! Next year for sure... We were inside doing the meet and greet answering questions from parents and kids alike. We had a very powerful presentation on the solar system with up to the minute updates on the happenings in our corner of the Universe. This summer as I had told you in previous posts, My sun filter was going to waste as we were in a huge minimum. I was informed that the clouds had parted . I grabbed my scope and took off for the parking lot. A fellow Astronomer had brought his Orion 80 out with a solar filter and was also setting up. I swung my scope over to the sun and Holy Mole We had spots ! I told Ralph my partner out on the side walk, " Get moving ole buddy we gots spots!" I was up and running and I had an immediate crowd that were wanting to look at the sun. It was a glorious time. I know that at least 60 kids had the opportunity to see the sunspot sitting almost dead center of the Sun. I saw the set of spots as a small string just getting up to speed and It looked beautiful after all these months of coming up empty. The plus here right after the sun sank into the trees was we had a quarter moon hanging in a good spot. I immediately went there and gave the folks a grand show of the Moon . They soon forgot about missing an opportunity to see the sunspot. As the darkness slowly crept into this town of Cincinnati, Jupiter began to shine through the last glow of day and we now had a third target of the evening. The seeing was average. I could make out 4 belts and 4 moons this night. We were joined by Bill, another astronomer. He brought his home grown 6" Newtonian. and had also locked onto Jupiter as well. all in all we had four scopes there and a steady stream of people. Almost without fail, as the people left the Fall Festival they paused to get in line at each scope to have a look at the Moon or Jupiter. Terry a fourth Astronomer that was giving the solar system presentation earlier was there floating in between scopes answering question after question about the sky. The world was whole again. We had spots! Until next week,

Clear skies and great seeing too!

Steve T

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