Author Topic: Halloween Treats for Trick-or-Treaters...  (Read 1269 times)


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Halloween Treats for Trick-or-Treaters...
« on: November 01, 2015, 07:26:21 AM »
    Once each year, lots of youngsters come by ready to be "ensnared" into astronomical delight.  This year the usual sights (Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, Pleiades) were either absent (J), down in the soup (S, P), or came up too late (M).  So Vega, almost straight overhead, was the attraction, with its starlight spread out into a spectrum by a transmission grating.  The colorful spectrum was a hit, with many "Cool!" and "Wow!" moments recorded.  Older chldren were encouraged to find the (obvious) Hydrogen-beta absorption line.  Seeing wasn't bad.  One young lady hunting for the beta line also found the gamma (usually hard to see unless the atmosphere is very stable, since this is slitless spectroscopy) and went off justifiably proud of herself.

    As in past years:

           1. Almost all the parents had to be encouraged to take a look. 
           2. A little dose of astronomical facts was dispensed for those showing interest: Vega 26 light years away, 10,000 degrees surface temperature vs. Sun's 5800, the absorption line is caused by hydrogen--basic stuff like that.
           3. The tracking telescope (Celestron 8" SCT on Adv. VX mount) generated interest: how does it know where it is and where the stars are, how does it track, etc.
           4. Some of the trick-or-treating families remembered the annual event from last year and specifically came by for a look.  Ditto the neighbors.
           5. The usual bowl of goodies was completely forgotten unless the kids, after observing, were reminded to take a handful.

Dan Wright

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Re: Halloween Treats for Trick-or-Treaters...
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2015, 09:12:21 AM »
Really cool.  It's great to offer tricks on Halloween in addition to treats, and a telescope trick is especially handy since you have the general public outdoors at night.  I've had scopes pointed at the moon or Saturn during Halloween, and they were big hits.  Great job improvising when the usual targets were absent -- a display of spectra; unique and intriguing.