This was my first time to attend a public star party and I'm happy to report it went over very well. I'd estimate attendance at 25-35 folks with 6 or so scopes and fairly clear skies. We had a bit of light cloud cover but it didn't last long. The area is subject to a bit of light pollution as well as a good bit of moon light but viewing brighter objects was no problem. I stayed on the Owl/E.T. cluster most of the night and am happy to report that everyone that viewed the cluster got a kick out of seeing the E. T. figure in the eyepiece! Other scopes were showing off Jupiter, the moon, and the Andromeda Galaxy.
All in all it was a successful event. I was thrilled to have a chance to meet several members of the SLAS. Of course I was quick to invite them all out to view from our dark skies in Madison County and am sure they'll take me up on the offer. I also received some excellent advice from one of the experienced members of the SLAS, John, on a few technical aspects of my scope. One of the great benefits of events like these are the opportunities for learning from more experienced members and I look forward to learning a great deal more from John and others. I'm also happy to report that I shared our efforts to build science literacy in Madison County via our Geek Parade and in discussing it with their members received at least one offer of a guest lecture/presentation to our group!
Stay tuned, more to come!