star party

GMO Hosted Its Second Big PUBLIC NIGHT SKY VIEWING EVENT

Partnering once again, Grand Mesa Observatory was the host site for the Western Colorado Astronomy Club's monthly public night sky viewing event which was held on August 10th, 2018.

Another large crowd flocked up to the Mesa in order to get a tour of the observatory complex, as well as to enjoy a night under the stars with the astronomy club members and their wide variety of telescopes. Director Terry Hancock reported on the event; "I want to thank our GMO volunteers and the members of the astronomy club personally for bringing equipment, showing the night sky to our visitors, and for making this a fun night to remember. Without you there wouldn't be an event. We at GMO are very fortunate to have you as volunteers, and this great alliance with the WCAC who have so many talented people helping to further the interest of astronomy in our region".

A friend of Terry's who was visiting from San Francisco assisted him with the observatory tours by manning the computers in the warm room, slewing the scopes, and capturing the M101 galaxy so folks could see a galaxy on the PC monitor. We counted at least 165 people through the door at jsut the observatory itself, and people were still coming in at 11:15 PM. Having an assistant for the observatory tours worked very well and Terry hopes to have a volunteer assistant to man the scopes for the next event in November.

GMO also tried to work out the bugs on a new addition to public events hosted there - a projector and screen that will be showing science short films and other items of interest during public viewing events. One of GMO's new volunteers (Don) is heading up that project, and with a little more work the new projector screen we installed last month should become a great asset for future events. Laser guided sky tours were also given during the course of the evening, and the planets ended up being the stars of the show as they shone brightly through both smoke and wind. It was another great event, and we look forward to seeing everyone for our third-and-final public viewing event in November!

New Facilities and New Opportunities

As many of our closer followers know, the Grand Mesa Observatory will soon begin offering world-class remote astrophotography from the dark skies of Western Colorado. However, as we prepare to open our doors to the global community we are also working hard to share our love for astronomy with the local community as well. One of the most important parts of this outreach initiative officially went live this past weekend with our first-ever public star party from the brand new 50x50ft observing pad. This new structure has readily available AC power for all manner of telescopes, cameras, and computers, and now that it is complete we'll be using it for education and outreach purposes in conjunction with many local organizations and the local astronomy clubs. In fact, this most recent star party was hosted in conjunction with the Western Colorado Astronomy Club (WCAC), and thanks to our awesome board member Dr. Jared Workman we even had some guests from the Colorado Mesa University Physics department!

Thanks everyone for coming out, and hopefully we can see some new faces next time!