Baton Rouge Astronomical Society Forum

21 August 2017 Solar Eclipse
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Author:  Christopher K. [ August 21st, 2017, 9:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 21 August 2017 Solar Eclipse

HRPO no longer has solar viewers for sale.

HRPO personnel strongly recommends that noone park on the side of Highland Road.

Author:  Christopher K. [ August 25th, 2017, 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 21 August 2017 Solar Eclipse

The Great American Eclipse is now a memory and thankfully it’s a good memory for Baton Rouge. No ornery clouds or “washout”; virtually the entire three-hour duration had an unobstructed view of the Sun.

Over an hour before the start of the event, we sold 196 solar viewers in thirty-five minutes. During the event we saw several families and children with cereal box viewers; many, many people were here for the first time. We ourselves utilized the Coronado Solar Max II solar telescope and several nighttime telescopes, each outfitted with either a standard eyepiece or a “sun funnel”—a modified oil funnel that projects light sent through the scope tube to fabric stretched across the front of the funnel. We provided live feeds on the main floor from NASA and then (when that feed proved too spotty) ABC News. The official count is 1089 (still working out the ratio of adults to children) which makes it the best-attended event in HRPO’s twenty years save for the historic Mars Opposition of 2003.

HRPO personnel were interviewed by the Advocate, WJBO, 107.3 The Eagle, LPB and Channel 33 prior to the 21st; and WAFB, Channel 33, 107.3, Tiger Rag and WBRZ the day of the Eclipse. Hopefully LSU’s astronomy/physics degree program and the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society got some exposure.

Thanks to Brandon Smith for allowing me to bother him with constant questions. Thanks to Amy Broulliette, Justin Northrop, Jordan Cobbs and Tom Northrop for operating up to three telescopes just outside the doors. Thanks to Chelsea Borruano for the great marketing and photography and last-minute copying of the upcoming HRPO schedule. Thanks to LSU Physics’ External Relations Manager Mimi Lavalle and BRAS Outreach Chairman Ben Toman for spreading the word of HRPO’s offering. Thanks to Stargazers Camp Director John LeBlanc who showed up with his personal equipment after he learned (sadly) that his school wasn’t taking part. Thanks to BRAS President John Nagle for working the front desk, even while recovering from a foot injury. Thanks to BRAS members Karen Des Roches and Jacob D. for creating extra sun funnels and staffing that equipment at the front viewing pad. Thanks to Apprentice Taylor C. for working telescopes and helping insure as many as possible without solar viewers took turns looking through some provided by HRPO. Thanks to BRAS member Briar Richard for giving tours of the 20OGS dome. Thanks to guitarist Billy Callaway for the great music at the back viewing pad. Thanks to BREC Risk Safety Manager David Noland for his early morning cautions and the wonderful Rangers for keeping the traffic tidy. Thanks to Professor Marty Horn of the Louisiana Geological Survey for setting up an instrument to gather data on the Earth’s magnetic field, giving us something else to discuss. Thanks to Mario’s City Gelato and Leila’s Leila Lagniappe food trucks; I know the crowd appreciated their presence (as evidenced by the full trash cans).

Several patrons verbally thanked us for being open; I guess they knew a lot of us would have been out-of-state. I admit I was completely stunned that the change in light during maximum coverage could be discerned so easily.

Author:  Christopher K. [ August 28th, 2017, 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 21 August 2017 Solar Eclipse

The "Great American Eclipse Preview" will be presented at the Highland Road Park Observatory on Friday 9 September at 7:30pm. HRPO is inviting members of BRAS and LSU P&A personnel to contribute. The talk is aimed at a general adult audience and has no admission fee.

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