And the surprise is that as many people or more will line up for hand holding. Peter and I go, and when we go, we usually have a device in a telescope (and it is a big telescope) and a few hand held devices.
We typically don't tell people to look at any one thing at first, so unlike the telescope experience, where the host has to control everything, when we give them a monocular, we just hand it to them. They put it to their eye and focus, and that is when the fun starts. They almost immediately express shock and surprise at how much they can suddenly see. Then come the expletives. I have heard even older women say some colorful stuff!
Next comes the spin. Once they get over the splash of stars and realize that they are not nailed to the earth, they start spinning around. More wonder and delight! And now the questions start. What is that big cloud that goes across the sky! What is that big clump of stars!
At this point one of us usually has a laser and will point in the direction they are looking and when they see the laser, we tell them what they are looking at. That is M45, or that is the Sagittarius Star Cloud..
The great beauty if this is that they self guide. We don't pick objects for them... They are turned into children that are exploring this new world that they never knew existed. Rather than isolate them to one dim, low feature showcase object, they get immersed into the galaxy we live in and see that it is populated by millions of stars and huge, wonderful objects.
Typically we have a device filtered up, and when someone loops the line a couple of times and shows enough interest, we put the H-alpha device in their hands and let them go.. They typically get to "Discover" things like the Lagoon Nebula or the Swan, and for those that look up, the almost magical sight of the North American Nebula that along with the swan, are two of the most perfectly named objects in the sky. Again, we usually let them discover on their own and when the ask what something is, we don't even need to use the laser to point. We can usually guess from where they are pointing.
Outreach with NV is very exciting for Peter and I and when we get started, we have a line usually several people deep, and many loop around several times.
We usually still have a line waiting when almost all of the other hosts are packing up to go home.
If I sound excited about outreach with NV, then yeah, I am. Nothing comes close to thrilling attendees like the "Explore on your own" experience offered by NV or the spectacular views of things like the Swan nebula when seen in a telescope with an image intensifier. People love it. No one ever just looks and just says oh, ok, is that it, I expected it to be brighter in a telescope (Hubble syndrome, which is the antagonist of star party hosts.. Not for our viewers or us though...)
Edited by Eddgie, 24 January 2020 - 11:24 AM.