The speaking engagement went swimmingly! The environmental education center's meeting room was just the right size to comfortably accommodate the 40 men, women, and children who attended. One guy, from the NASA Glenn Visitor's Center, even brought along some color photo handouts illustrating Mars exploration technology. The new Vista notebook computer ran the StarOffice Impress presentation flawlessly and, despite some flubs pressing the wrong remote control button a couple of times, I got through the show in pretty good shape. My program ran a bit long (about 1 hour, 10 minutes) but not uncomfortably so, I think. Unexpectedly, the sky was clear (though seeing was so-so). Only one member from the astronomy club, Bill, showed up with his telescope. I asked and was allowed to take the 8-inch Dobsonian telescope, owned by the center, out and use it to accommodate those interested. First time I'd ever used one of those and I enjoyed it very much. We looked at Mars –a tiny but bright disk in the eyepiece with no markings visible– but wowed 'em with views of the Orion Nebula and, just as it was clearing the trees, Saturn rising in the east. One woman, especially, was thrilled with views of the nebula, coming back again and again to take another look. It seems there's always someone like that and it can make all the effort worth while! So I hope I disabused some people of Mars mis-information and we gave them a look at the heavens above. Sharing truth and beauty with others… not a bad Saturday night at all!
Not a bad Saturday night!