I spent a fun couple of hours, August 10, sharing views of the Sun through my telescopes at the Westlake Porter Public Library. It was a sort of sidewalk astronomy event, part of “Science Week” there, and drew 53 participants. Lots of passing clouds got in the way, shoved along by steady winds, and people were surprisingly patient waiting for the Sun to return. When we had clear skies we were rewarded with very good viewing of a beautiful loop-shaped solar prominence through the 35mm Lunt Ha scope; careful viewers with moments of better seeing spied several more! Seeing wasn’t quite good enough to reliably find the two small sunspot groups present, nor was it good enough to see granulation patters that afternoon using the 90mm Meade telescope with white light filter. I did see granulation that morning during testing at home. Sadly, a very large sunspot group, visible only days earlier, was just over the Sun’s limb this day. Procrastination in these things isn’t good but it was well worth the morning’s last-minute effort of fabricating a sturdy piggyback mount to mate the Ha with my trusty old Meade 390. It took just two trips to the hardware store for less than $10 worth of parts to create an excellent mount! A newspaper reporter asked me what organizations I represented and it turns out there were three: Cuyahoga Astronomical Association, Stephens Memorial Observatory (Hiram College), and the library! And I wore three name tags.
I was surprised and honored. We attended the 23rd Annual Employee Recognition Celebration at Hiram College tonight. I knew something was up but was taken aback when I was named the inaugural recipient of the President’s Volunteer Award tonight! College President Thomas Chema had very kind words to say about my work with the college observatory and, as I understand it, this new honor was his idea. It was the result of a request by Physics Chair Dr. Laura Van Wormer that my work be somehow acknowledged. In private conversation I explained that I considered it a privilege to be allowed to run the observatory for the college but thanked all involved for the recognition. I was given a beautiful award piece made of heavy beveled glass, etched with the award wording. I’ve included a photo of the award here done in impromptu fashion; very nice to look at but very hard to simply photograph. What a night!