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Sidewalk astronomy and Elmer the "Moon Man"

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#1 Frisky

Frisky

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 01:07 AM

To my admittedly limited knowledge, the late John Dobson helped get the "sidewalk astronomy" movement going in the 60s. If you go back to the late 40s and through the 50s, my town had Elmer the "Moon Man." He was a sidewalk astronomer before sidewalk astronomy! According to eyewitnesses, Elmer had a reflector, as large around as a drainpipe, and he stood on North Main St. here in Austin, MN and shouted, "Come see the craters and mountains on the moooon! Come see the rings of Saturn!" Some say he charged a nickel, some say a dime, and my mom walked by and saw his sign reading 25 cents. I wish she had taken him up on the offer and looked through his scope, but she passed on the deal. It's been around 70 years since Elmer set up on North Main, thrilling those who looked through his scope with beautiful views, and I'm reviving sidewalk astronomy here, though I won't be charging for the service, lol! I already hosted one event, at the local fair grounds, but I'll be doing more of them, mainly in city parks. I might do a moon viewing on North Main, setting up just 200 yards from where Elmer stood. In spite of all the light pollution, people today remain fascinated with the night sky!

 

Joe


Edited by Frisky, 28 July 2019 - 12:57 AM.

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#2 Arcticpaddler

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:36 AM

What a great tradition!  I hope you can get it going again and spark a lot of local interest.


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#3 Frisky

Frisky

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 05:52 PM

Yes, I know there are telescopes in homes all over town. They're in basements, closets, attics and garages and probably elsewhere! I want people to dust them off and use them. It's a tough task and will take time. Two of my sisters have telescopes and won't get them out and pointed at the night sky. That tells me it's an uphill battle!

 

Joe




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