Date:  August 28, 2022
Time:  8:30 – 10:30 pm

Location: NC Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

Bethany Bennett,
Steven Blake,
Dana Bostic,
Mike Keefe,
Barton Meeks,
Matt Lochansky,
Tony Verdone,
Chris Wittum

Event Attendees: 80-100

The event was coordinated through the NC Museum of Art, as part of their Summer series in the museum park. We were located by the “Tilted Gyre” – the set of 3 giant ring sculptures. We arrived at 7pm – earlier than usual because our gear needed to be carted to the observing field. The Kubota tractor took our heavy/bulky gear and most of us carted in our lighter gear. We had 4 scopes and 4 floaters, which worked out well. Sunset was a little before 8 and stars appeared right at 8:30 when the event kicked off. The partly cloudy skies grew worse as it got dark – the forecast called for a mostly clear evening. We were able to get some quick glimpses of albireo and Saturn before cloud cover took over. Mike Keefe used the opportunity to share photos on his screen and keep people entertained. The rest of us talked to the participants, pointing out the summer triangle and whatever else as as brief openings in the clouds appeared. Luckily, by about 9:30 the skies opened back up and we were in business. Everyone remaining got a good view of Saturn and many other deep sky objects, like the Hercules cluster, dumbbell nebula, swan nebula, and ring nebula among other targets. At the very end of the night, Jupiter emerged from behind a cloud and shone brightly over the field. We took a final glimpse at the planet and packed down.

Notes for Next Time:

  • City locations are challenging with light pollution. We took the opportunity to talk a little about the Bortle scale. We guessed we were at Bortle 7 – only the brightest handful of stars were visible.
  • 300 tickets were given away and the forecast was great, but only 80-100 turned out. This was hel on the day before Wake County schools traditional calendar students went back to school.
  • Tickets sold out quickly (months in advance) and that wasn’t clear that tickets weren’t available. We need to be better about updating the calendar to reflect things. Also, volunteer registration needs to be restricted to members only. It’s a pain to log in – but it’s becoming necessary to avoid confusion and ensure we have our volunteer count accurate.