Thursday, September 27, 2012

Astronomy at the Beach

This past Friday and Saturday (September 21-22, 2012) was the 16th Annual Astronomy at the Beach. This event is held at Kensington Metropark, located near Brighton Michigan. Each year, if the weather is good, you can expect dozens of telescopes and hundreds of guests, as well as a guest speaker (often an astronaut or a professional astronomer).
I didn't go Friday, the weather was bad. From what I understood, it rained most of the day and evening, but there was a good turnout for the guest speaker, two-time shuttle astronaut and geophysicist Dr. Andrew Feustel, a native of Lake Orion, Michigan. Drew talked about his work repairing the Hubble and installing the AMS module on the International Space Station, as well as the future of space exploration. The only telescope out on the field belonged to Jim Abshier. This wasn't an optical telescope (which would have been useless in the rain), but a small amateur radio telescope.
Saturday was much better, by sunset most of the clouds were gone and we had a good turnout of telescopes and guests. I had a chance to look at Jim's radio telescope, it was a simple design made of inexpensive components.
Below, Jim and his radio telescope. Jim is on the left.

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