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Astronomy Baseball: One Hit, One Strike


Last night’s star party at Brower Observatory was a raging success! Thank you to the many, many who attended. We lost count after several dozen attendees, but may have had as many as thirty, including a number of students and children, who are always especially welcome. CMAS encourages the next generation of astronomers!

Special treat of the night was observing globular clusters through new member Jim’s 14.5” Zambuto. Carl Zambuto makes among the finest mirrors in the world, with not only perfect figure, but exceptional smoothness for the ultimate in contrast. Globulars typically look like piles of diamonds set against a bright background. Through Jim’s telescope, the background itself resolves into further fields of diamonds.

We also saw the progress in preparing the 12” LX200 in its new-to-us SkyPod observatory. The dome that looks as though it could have been made by Little Tykes is the ideal low maintenance, weathertight enclosure for Maine’s often harsh climate. Its new pier debuted last night. Colin cut it from an old streetlight pole, and set it at a height that, after testing by so many CMASians, appears to be just right. Next step is repairing the mount’s electronics. Brian already has the capacitors in hand! Soon, this telescope will be the most convenient powerhouse available in such a small, easy-to-use package.


As the time approached for this morning’s observations of the International Space Station’s solar transit, the clouds darkened, until we could no longer see the sun through the clouds. We had a great time anticipating the transit, but in the end, saw nothing. Had a blast, though! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Surprisingly, the next opportunity to view a transit of the ISS is only a few weeks away, although it will be a lunar transit, so we won’t need special solar filters! Mark your calendars for 8:47pm on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in or near Chelsea, Maine. The exact location will be determined as the time approaches and the orbit is better known. These transits are visible along a path thousands of miles long, but only three-and-a-half miles wide, so we need to find a convenient, publicly accessible location in that strip.

Curious? Check the dates and locations of upcoming transits, worldwide, at:

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