Date: June 15, 2022
Time: 9:00 – 11:00 pm

Location: Smith Lake Recreation Center, 5144, Smith Lake Rd, Fort Bragg, NC 28310

Steve Blake
Dana Bostic (author)
Steve Goodman
Mike Keefe
Barton Meeks
Bob Muzzi
Rob Parsons
Ed & Joan Radomski
Chris Wittum

Matt Lochansky did all the upfront work, but was unable to attend.

Event Attendees: 104

Overview: This site is at the Smith Lake Recreation Center for Fort Bragg. It is just across the lake from Simmons AAF. We had eight telescopes and one binocular setup with 104 visitors. The crowd was engaged and it was a very calm atmosphere. Everyone asked questions and seemed to enjoy listening. Visitors received a card when they arrived and our area was one of the “stamps” they needed to get a prize at the end. Attendees got plenty of telescope time with most scopes observing M3, M13, Izar, Mizar, and M57. I am sure there were others, just what I walked around and saw.

Weather and Observing Conditions: It was very warm when we arrived, but kept cooling down and was pleasant by sunset. The sky cleared a lot by 8 PM and stayed mostly clear through the event (maybe 20% coverage at some points). Due to the proximity to Smith Lake we did have our share of mosquitos.

Location: We were scheduled to be on the south west side of the Rec Center, but were moved just before arrival as there is a large street light over the area we were supposed to be. Moving us to the north east side of the building and covering the lights that were on our side of the Rec Center helped a little. We had the light from the Army Base, sunset being so late, and moonrise about 10:30 all working against us. We were supplied power via extension cord from the Rec Center building.

Thoughts of the event: I cannot imagine this going better, especially considering the weather / sky conditions. I was proud to be part of RAC at this event because of the level of teaching and explaining our volunteers poured out and how well everyone jumped in to help. It was great how several people signed up and attended at the last minute. My part was easy as all volunteers just knew what to do.

Notes for Next Time:
We were asked if we might come back in the fall.
This is a venue where we cannot have dark skies.
Next time, this must happen on a Friday or Saturday night. It is an hour away from Raleigh (more or less depending where you live) and completes very late, particularly in summer. I did not arrive home until about 12:30 AM, so having it during the week is difficult.
There is no food or drink there, so other than room temperature water, we did not have anything to eat or drink that we did not bring.

Photos by Rob Parsons