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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: North Rim Report new [Re: Kevdog]
      #5940712 - 06/26/13 12:11 AM Attachment (40 downloads)

Thanks, Kev! We ended up with about 30 of the 40 scopes running. My poor grandson had great plans for the 18", but it only was out three times; kind of a windy week.

That was Dennis Young's homebuilt 28" single bar truss dob. He has gust locks on it, so he never misses a night. Here's a daytime picture.

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Carpal Tunnel

Reged: 01/13/10

Loc: Glenview, IL
Re: North Rim Report [Re: Skylook123]
      #5946065 - 06/29/13 07:37 AM

You make me really, really, really miss not being able to attend! One day....

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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: North Rim Report new [Re: tecmage]
      #5967015 - 07/12/13 09:21 AM

See if this helps prod you to join us sooner, rather than later.

This is a poem written at and after this year's GCSP by Mary McMacken. Dennis McMacken is one of the folks who puts together our club's three weekend beginner's astronomy instruction sessions three times each year. I finally got them to attend GCSP this year, and Mary wrote this:

Grand Canyon Stargazing July 2013
(Mary Lilly McMacken)

It begins, the sky, filled with clouds,
the parking lot, filled with telescopes,
astronomers of all ages set up,
excited to share their passion.

Chatter, greetings, laughter,
We are here, racing to get ready,
The wind picks up, dancing, laughing,
Stealing hats and sky charts.

The melting sun throws buckets
of orange and purple hues, on the clouds,
drenching them, pulling them slowly
beneath the horizon line.

Venus comes out of hiding, bright,
winking through the shivering atmosphere,
bringing hope Mercury will soon follow,
and the wind will soon fade…….

The wind laughs softly then giggles,
Sending hair across faces, Grabbing the
"How to" booklet for the new telescope,
taunting as we race to grab it back.

Mercury blinks in and out, teasing the eyes.
It's almost there, then gone again.
It's almost dark enough when, it appears
a shimmering smile in the telescope lens.

Visitors come drifting up eager to see
beyond this tiny ball we call our home.
Smiling they stand in line, waiting
to be pulled into another dimension.

Vega shows its face, a new target.
The wind persists, voices grow in volume
A steady rising hum, "Do you want to see…
Vega, Venus, Saturn, Mercury?"

"Yes, thanks, sure, . . Ahhhh it's awesome."
A young man says, "You hear about
The Grand Canyon, but when you get here…
It's unreal." He looks up at the star filled sky

spreading his arms as if he would embrace it.
It's yummy dark now. The wind is moving slowly,
the laser pointers shoot green lines in all directions..
teaching constellations, stars, planets.

"Look, there, green light points, can you see
Arcturus the brightest star in Bootes, Saturn…..?"
"Oh my god, a voice almost sings,
"I've never seen the Ring Nebula before!"

Now, the night sky is velvet black dark.
"What," a voice asks, "you've never seen it"
The Milky Way, a magical cloak drapes
across it "hiding billions of sister stars

The stars, never seen this bright at home,
have multiplied, over and over, so many times,
blinking, shimmering, filling the sky,
"making the constellations hard to find."

The wind has given up, no fun left to be had,
The hum of the voices have trickle to a soft purr.
I look around, where did they all go, the visitors?
Back to hotel rooms, RV's and camping tents?

Ah yes, It's time to put the telescopes away.
We help friends, old and new pack up,
It's time to leave but we will be back tomorrow night
For the delight, the passion, lingers on and on and on……..

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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Thanks From NPS new [Re: Skylook123]
      #6046206 - 08/25/13 11:43 PM

August 10, 2013

2013 GCSP Participants
c/o Jim O’Connor of TAAA

Dear Grand Canyon Star Party (South Rim) 2013 Participants:

THANK YOU ALL for making the 23rd annual Grand Canyon Star Party another great success! Once again you all educated and inspired huge numbers of visitors from around the globe. They appreciate it and so does the National Park Service.

Having some spots dedicated to videoscopes this year was a very successful experiment, making the telescope viewing more accessible to wheelchair users AND all those who for whatever reason have trouble seeing things in an eyepiece or wandering through a telescope lot at night. Thanks so much to Jim/Susan/Karina/Stephen O’Connor, Wayne Thomas, Bill McDonald, & John Suscavage for providing that service!

I have finally tallied the Contacts and Hours forms that were turned in (THANK YOU!), and I did some extrapolating to fill in the gaps. Attendance was down compared to last year, thanks to the early dates and some cloudy nights. But visitor-astronomer contacts were impressive nevertheless: it appears that with shorter lines visitors had time to look through more telescopes, making it a great experience for those who did attend.

Thanks to Marie Cloutier, Joanne Archinal, Jan Cossette & Daisun Wagner for helping me get an actual visitor count on two nights (442 on cloudy Wednesday night and 967 on the mostly clear final Saturday). And EXTRA special thanks to the indispensable and indefatigable O’Connor clan (Karina & Stephen & Jim & Susan), for all you did to make things run smoothly, despite low staffing this year on the NPS side!

• Total night and day astronomer-visitor contacts: 47,062 (vs. 62,748 in 2012); 43,239 by night and 3,823 during the day
• Estimated total nighttime attendance (at 7.16 scopes each, compared to 5.85 last year): 5,871 (vs. 9,758 in 2012); plus 3,058 by day at an estimated 1.25 scopes each, (vs. 6,484 in 2012: I miss you Sim Picheloup!).
• Total slide show attendance: 1,848 (full every night)
• Constellation Tour attendance (at 9:00, 9:30 & 10:00 pm nightly): 754, compared to 882 in 2012. Thank you Jim O’Connor, Alan Delman, Joe Orr & Tyler Nordgren for doing most of those—with stars or without!
• 100 volunteer astronomers donated 2,381 volunteer hours with 34-44 telescopes set up each night.

Looking specifically at your stat sheets:
• Art Cloutier is the new champ for total reported visitor contacts, with 1,782 over the course of 6 nights and 2 six-hour days.
• Diane Hope is runner-up with 1,724 contacts over the course of 7 nights.
• Dennis Young clocked the most hours: 104 ¾ over 8 nights and 6 days.

A big thanks to everyone for your work presenting slide shows (Jim, Dennis, John Anderson, Marilyn Unruh & Jocelyn Layte), running the shirt shop (Mae Smith), passing out star charts & tickets for the telescope giveaway (various O’Connor progeny), designing the logo (Joe Bergeron), serving as social coordinator (Ginger Applegarth), organizing social events (Susan & Jim O’Connor, Steve Ratts, Ginger & Alan) and the campsites (Bill & Mary Lofquist), getting us two Celestron Firstscopes to give away to two happy kids (Kevin LeGore) in addition to many gorgeous photographs given to non-telescope winners (Dennis), helping to figure out the new layout (Larry Cossette and Jim & Susan Knoll) and assisting in all sorts of other ways (so many of you!).

And of course thanks to ALL of you for setting up your scopes and sharing them patiently and enthusiastically with visitors, not to mention getting yourselves here in the first place. Your time and energy was well spent in touching lives and making new converts to amateur astronomy and the preservation of dark night skies!

I think my favorite visitor comment this year came one July day when a lady spotted Dean Ketelsen’s GCSP t-shirt at a Trader Joe’s in Tucson:
• “Oh my God, we were at the Star Party! It was the highlight of our summer!”
Of course I also enjoyed the comment overheard by one of my co-workers, from a girl around age ten:
• “Wow, they must be making a lot of money at this thing!” 

Well done, everyone.

Mark your calendars for June 21-28, 2014 – the 24th Annual Grand Canyon Star Party! I hope to see you all then.



Ms. Marker Marshall
Park Ranger—Interpretation
Grand Canyon National Park
(928) 638-7830

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