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Maine Astronomy Retreat: Flash Mob at Medomak Camp

CMAS has been invited to assist at MARS, The Maine Astronomy Retreat, to be held in late July, 2017, at Medomak Camp. This is a week-long event hosted by an editor of “Sky and Telescope Magazine,” held in the comfortable accommodations of a classic Maine summer camp. It caters to people who need to travel many hundreds of miles to reach the dark skies we enjoy in our everyday lives, those Colin calls, “our photon-starved friends from the South.” Those from light-polluted skies often can not see much at the eyepiece, and so must instead tease images from computer-enhanced astrophotography. Ideal deep-sky, visual telescopes are thus often lacking in their stables, nor have they necessarily formed connections to local astronomers in the dark sky areas they visit, who are experienced with visual astronomy.¬†CMAS has been invited to assist at MARS, The Maine Astronomy Retreat, to be held in late July, 2017, at Medomak Camp. This is a week-long event hosted by an editor of “Sky and Telescope Magazine,” held in the comfortable accommodations of a classic Maine summer camp. It caters to people who need to travel many hundreds of miles to reach the dark skies we enjoy in our everyday lives, those Colin calls, “our photon-starved friends from the South.” Those from light-polluted skies often can not see much at the eyepiece, and so must instead tease images from computer-enhanced astrophotography. Ideal deep-sky, visual telescopes are thus often lacking in their stables, nor have they necessarily formed connections to local astronomers in the dark sky areas they visit, who are experienced with visual astronomy.

Enter CMAS, with Colin’s 16″ mirror and our many years of observing at the eyepiece. Just as he did last year for The Maine State Star Party and Acadia Night Sky Festival, Colin will remove the mirror from the scope in Brower’s dome, and set it into its portable Dob mount. CMAS is hereby recruiting members to work the big Dob and any other telescopes we choose to bring, and to befriend our astronomical brethren for a night of CMASian visual astronomy. There truly is something magical and exceptional to CMAS’s routine astronomy under Maine’s dark skies, and now we’re invited to share it. CMAS membership and a love of the skies are the only prerequisites; expertise in guiding telescopes is not required. Our beginners can join theirs. Medomak Camp is only twenty minutes from Brower, so this is an easy destination for many of us.

This star party will be called as a flash mob. Watch your email for a message to appear in the afternoon of whatever night the skies are first expected to be clear at Medomak Camp. There may be additional nights, depending upon the weather and the Retreat’s other programming. This event is open to formal members of CMAS; please understand that we can not extend Medomak Camp’s invitation to us onward to the general public, or to prospective CMAS members.

Medomak Camp and Retreat Center
178 Liberty Rd, Washington, ME 04574

By Flash Mob, sometime between July 23 and July 29, 2017 http://www.medomakretreatcenter.com/starparty.php

Aurora Cloudialis

Last night (Sunday, July 16, 2017), the Earth was, indeed, buried in a ferocious electromagnetic storm, so there almost certainly was Aurora Borealis over Maine. Alas, at least for those of us in the Western part of CMAS’s realm, the clear skies promised in the forecasts were replaced by pea-soup clouds. The Aurora was thus hidden from view, with heat lightning the only lighting in the North. Perhaps skies were clearer further north or east? If anyone saw the Aurora, your fellow CMASians would love to hear about it!

Aurora Borealis Tonight, Sunday, July 16

Conditions are favorable tonight, Sunday, July 16, 2017, for seeing aurora borealis from Maine.

As of this afternoon, the Earth is already subjected to a strong geomagnetic storm. Maine is, already, supposedly exposed to an aurora that we can not yet see, while sunlight obscures the sky. After nightfall, look north. Find a hill or field with a clear view low to the Northern horizon, away from the lights of any town or city. Be patient, as the aurora can wax and wane. Bear in mind that the aurora, as seen from Maine, may not look quite like the flashy splashes of color so often seen in pictures from the Arctic. The lights may, instead, be white instead of colored, and patchier, and slower moving. Or, perhaps we’ll have an especially dramatic show!

One wants to observe the full extent of the sky, as with viewing a meteor shower, so no telescope is needed. Binoculars are optional, and may or may not be interesting for brightening small parts of the aurora. Your eyes and a clear view to the north after dark are all that’s needed.