Some of you met Sidewalk Astronomers John Dobson, Bob Alborzian and
Donna Smith last Saturday night in Monrovia - they were helping out
with the telescopes in addition to Todd and Caroline, and Mojo and
me. It was a really fun night and our friends Bob and Donna really
enjoyed our Monrovia sidewalk gang. John's next Southern California
"event" will be his annual visit to Furnace Creek in Death Valley
National Park, between Christmas and New Years.
Before the annual Death Valley trek, the Sidewalk Astronomers
homemade telescopes usually need a little "repair" in Donna's
workshop. If you are interested in helping, watching, or spending
some time with John and the gang, you can do so by attending the
"Work Party" on Saturday December 16th contact Donna Smith
This is a great way to see the not-so-mysterious construction details
of the telescopes. Donna says that four telescopes - 8, 10, 12 and
18-inch reflectors on Dobsonian mounts - will be in the shop for
some minor surgery. :-)
If you are interested in attending the Death Valley Astronomy program
on one or more nights (or days), here are some details from Donna -
ask her directly if you have any questions.
Furnace Creek - arrive Dec. 26th in the afternoon, John speaks that
night at the visitor center. We leave the morning of Dec. 30. For
camping information call 800-365-2267 and for lodging at the Furnace
Creek Ranch/Inn call 760-786-2345 and the number for the Furnace
Creek Visitor Center is 760-786-3200.
We will have sun scopes out daily and telescopes out nightly. We have
plenty of scopes, if someone wants to swing by on their way to/from
Vegas and doesn't want to tote a scope.
Lodging might also be available at Stovepipe Wells or Armagosa -
which are 20 to 30 minutes from Furnace Creek.
Here are a few astro happenings this week and next:
Tonight, December 8th - watch Saturn accompany the moon across the sky.
December 8-14 - 45 minutes before sunrise: Watch Jupiter, Mars and
Mercury come close together in the southeast at dawn. Look very
close to the SE horizon, less than 10 degrees above the horizon.
Mars is the dimmest of the three planets. Watch from now until the
14th of December as the trio comes closer together. The three planets
fit in a one degree circle on the 10th. This is the closest
observable "bunching" of three bright planets for the next 25 years!
No telescope needed, this is a view for the unaided eyes or
Check back on the Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers website
in a week or two. We should have our next
dark sky and sidewalk dates listed, plus a photo journal from last
Saturday night, plus a cute song about John Dobson on the website.
Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA 91109 818-393-6435
Cassini Saturn Observation Campaign