i've held 3 star parties now on UT's campus. each night new people show up and the objects in the sky change positions enough to always keep things unique and interesting. Last night there were a lot of people in the little dome! many students taking introductory astronomy courses at UT came along with several students from a local high school! i'd never heard of a high school offering a course in astronomy, but apparently these students have already taken the other standard science classes and astronomy was the last one. one girl completely impressed me by asking questions that are nearly impossible to answer observationally right now now. my speculative (and somewhat unsatisfying) answers were purely based on theory and she was clearly wanting more! i encouraged her to keep asking these questions because if she's having such complex thoughts now.... wow!!!! i hope she continues to explore the places her mind is taking her!
jupiter moved directly behind the bright UT tower right at 8pm, so we looked at moon first. so many people were present that we looked at the moon for over an hour! the shadow on the waxing gibbous moon is the perfect spot to look at how deep the craters are by looking at the shadows of the deep crater walls! as much as i love looking through the telescope at the moment that everything is lined up and adjust the focus to see all the little details of the moon's surface.... i equally enjoy seeing people crawl up the old wooden stairs, peer through the eyepiece of the old telescope for the first time and exult... WOW!!! i'll never get tired of that!
near the end of the evening some friends showed up and took some pictures. here's a shot of me focusing on the moon with the 70 year old 9-inch refracting telescope.
then katie and garret showed up with the best surprise ever.... happy psychedelic equinox costumes!!! hahahaha!!
after the observing ended, they swept me off so i could create my own costume for the official psychedelic equinox party...
a surprising evening that turned out to be a lot of fun!! thanks kt and g-rat!