Saturday night was spent at the Observatory showing off Earth’s Moon, brilliant red giant star Antares, a faint star cluster, and the Ring Nebula to a nice group of folks. The sky was mostly clear but high humidity and moonlight make for less than optimal seeing. Still, our visitors were interested and enthusiastic. Views of the Moon were exquisite and exciting with craters along the terminator showing off inky black unlit floors and brilliantly sunlit walls. Mountains cast deep shadows across the lunar seas. The old telescope was in fine form. Two couples stayed late and we enjoyed the night’s best views of the Ring as I changed out eyepieces. As they were leaving we stepped out on the front lawn talking and looking at some constellations, parting company at 11:25 PM. That meant a very late night for me but the overall experience was so positive, I didn’t mind at all!
Today we got around slowly and, because the day promised to be uncomfortably hot and humid, we went to the zoo early enough to arrive a little before opening. We saw some wonderful exotic animals ranging from meerkats and elephants in the zoo’s new Elephant Crossing area to flamingos, lions, giraffes, and storks. We took loads of pictures but, as these things often happen, my favorite photos were of free-flying, native dragonflies that were buzzing around a small pond on the grounds.
It was an all-too-short weekend of cosmic smoke rings and flying dragons.