Despite dreary weather, fifty guests came to the Strawbridge Observatory for a constellation-themed event last Saturday.
As members of the public arrived, they engaged in a constellation art activity. They creatively drew and colored their own renditions of the animals outlined by different constellations.
Haverford student Sarah Betti, ’17 then presented a talk about constellations, providing the history of constellations and how they are helpful. She even provided tips on how to locate common constellations in the spring sky of Philadelphia.
Cloudy skies loomed over the observatory telescopes, so observing did not seem likely. Haverford student volunteers instead led tours through the observatory to the domes so guests could learn about the telescopes and the observing process.
As the crowd thinned down, several guests and volunteers noticed that a gap in the clouds exposed the moon. Students on telescope duty quickly opened the domes to provide a view.
Within minutes the moon was obscured, but nearby Venus was visible. Telescopes were urgently re-oriented to show Venus, before it, too, disappeared behind the clouds.
Fortunately the skies parted for Jupiter, and the evening concluded with a telescope view of the gas giant and its moons.
If the whole crowd from the earlier talk had been present, only a few people would have seen each object as the telescopes were rapidly rotated.
The small crowd that remained through the end of the event enjoyed the exhilarating chase of different objects as they became visible in the sky. They were lucky to experience such fast-paced observing.
Thanks to all the guests who joined us and to all the student volunteers who hosted such a fun event!