Went to a star party in the gorge last night and got to gaze at the stars through astronomers telescopes. The Rose City Astronomers is a portland group affiliated with OMSI that holds monthly lectures and frequent star parties to go enjoy the stars and share knowledge. Some friends and I got together and headed up the gorge to rooster rock to partake. The location is somewhat removed from city glow, but the wester sky is still muddy, and washugal/camas lights can also be seen. There were a good 2 dozen telescope out, and binoculars and cameras too.
We got there early and sat by the water for a while enjoying the sunset. Clear day today so few dramatic clouds, just the city haze and a few condensation jet trails. I really liked the willows. Orion popped out even as the sky was still light to the west, and these kids were waving their lights on the steps.
We looked at globular clusters m35 and m3, The orion nebula m42, the pleiades, Jupiter and it’s bands plus three moons to the right. And some other odds and ends. One guy made a really neat chair for his dobsonian that was neato. I located Leo, question mark and triangle tail which includes regulus. I learned that cancer is super faint, but that you can kinda tell where the beehive cluster is and thats in the middle of leo. I recalled that Castor and pollox are the two twin stars that are brightest on the constellation gemini. I learned Serius, the brightest star, is 8.6 light years away, and the closest star in the northern hemisphere (alpha Centauri is only visible in the southern hemisphere). I got the full ursa major pointed out to me, but will have to look at it again. And reminded that polaris is the tail of the little dipper. Interesting to learn that the middle star of the big dipper’s handle is a binary.
Yay star gazing!