Mini-donuts vs. the craters of the moon

The Blue Moon sets into the sunny tops of the Sierra Nevada mountains yesterday morning. This stunning image was made by Andrew Kirk of Bishop, California while out running.

As if to escape all the attention it’s been getting as a Blue Moon, the moon last night was anything but blue. It rose a deep red and remained orange for a long time in the hazy air. Members of our local astronomy club, the Arrowhead Astronomical Society, gather on weekends in Duluth’s Canal Park – a great place to see ships come and go on Lake Superior –  whenever the weather’s nice and there’s interesting stuff to show the public.

William Wiethoff with the Arrowhead Astronomical Society shows the moon to passersby last night in Duluth’s Canal Park. The city’s iconic Aerial Lift Bridge glows in the background. Photo: Bob King

Last night was perfect with an inviting moon and a great crowd. Will Wiethoff and Richie Townsend set up their scopes and invited passersby to stop for a look. The smell of deep-fried mini-donuts and cheese curds wafted from nearby Crabby Bill’s as people lined up for a look at lunar craters like Tycho and Copernicus.

Megan Gillogly of Chicago looks at the moon through a telescope last night. “I’m amazed every time I look up at the stars,” she said. “They reveal the beauty of our creator and are proof that our God is awesome.” Photo: Bob King

There were at least several jokes about seeing the flag on the moon. When I explained that the Lunar Reconniassance Orbiter had taken the very first pictures of the flag this year, one fellow was incredulous. He thought that much of what the astronauts left on the moon had eroded away. So we talked about how the lack of an atmosphere and liquid water slows the erosion process down, preserving the Apollo artifacts for millions of years to come.

Joe Sandor of Chicago (originally of Superior, Wis.) shows off the first picture of the moon he took with his cellphone through a club member’s telescope. Photo: Bob King

Anyway, I took a few photos of the scene I thought you might enjoy. Public outreach in astronomy gives both ways. People love looking at the moon and planets, and the amateur astronomers that share their time and expertise get to enjoy the public’s reaction to the what they in the scope.

It’s also fun to field questions and hear opinions about this and that in the cosmos. These exchanges help me better understand what role science plays in their lives.

Richie Townsend (right), with the Arrowhead Astronomical Society, lines up the scope so another passerby can take a look at the moon. Photo: Bob King

 

Brothers Anthony (left) and Alex Granquist of Eagan, Minn. stand on the rocks under the moon in Canal Park as their towels billow in the breeze last night. The boys like the planets. Anthony’s favorite is the Earth; Alex prefers Saturn. Photo: Bob King

2 thoughts on “Mini-donuts vs. the craters of the moon

  1. It looks like you have a wonderful turn out again. We too had a large group at Hobbs. Even some of the deep sky didn’t look too bad, M57 comes to mind.

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