Letter: Over the moon
Saturday, June 24, was a new moon, which is when the sun, moon and Earth are (almost perfectly) aligned, with the moon in the center position. In this alignment, the moon is visible primarily during the day, instead of the nighttime. Astronomers and star gazers using telescopes typically try to avoid the moon because its glare interferes with the views of planetary details and deep-sky objects. For these reasons, telescopic viewing of the night sky is best at or near the new moon.
On that night, in the darkness of the new moon, Aspen Science Center held a very successful stargazer event at 12,095 feet on Independence Pass. Close to 100 people carpooled to the summit and were rewarded with crystal clear skies and views of the rings of Saturn, moons of Jupiter and nebulae and globular clusters far beyond our solar system. It was a wonderful night for all.
As proud as we are to bring events like this to the public, we must acknowledge that we didn’t do it alone. We received crucial help from a couple of wonderful individuals.
First, we would like to thank Kelly Wood of the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District of the White River National Forest for providing a great deal of important planning information and for helping us complete the necessary forms and permits.
Our most sincere thanks and appreciation go out to Bryan White who brought his own 8-, 10- and 16-inch telescopes and served as both viewing instructor and astronomical tour guide.
The next new moon stargazer event will be held July 22 at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. Registration will soon be open on our website at AspenScienceCenter.org. You won’t want to miss it.
President, Aspen Science Center
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