A great crowd of stargazers arrived at the Dark Sky Site for our February Star Party on Saturday. Although the temps were projected to be in the 30's, we had at least 15 people in attendance for much of the evening, including a couple children and other guests. We had two club telescopes in operation, and 5 or 6 more brought by members. This was the first star party for my new CPC telescope, so it was great to work out the remaining bugs with my new setup.
Arriving just before sunset, we found the weather to be a rather pleasant sunny 55 degrees while our equipment was brought out. And thanks to all of the attendees who brought snacks, there was a terrific assortment of treats and nutritious items. We started off with dazzling views of Venus, which is moving towards its maximum Eastern elongation in March. After the sun set, we were treated to a clear sky and good visibility. Just a few thin clouds moved in and out over the course of the evening. Quite a relief after all of the cloudy skies and rain we've had in the Upstate this winter. Our guests and kids were treated to views from multiple scopes as we toured our favorite winter objects like the Orion Nebula, Pleiades Cluster, and the Eskimo Nebula. As the night went on, a few more folks stayed inside to keep warm. The rest soldiered on, but eventually decided to call it a night by 11:00 PM. I worked on some photography of Venus and M42, and those images are below.
We hope that the weather remains clear for the next Star Party in March, and that you will join us!