On October 15, the Von Braun Astronomical Society held its annual Astronomy Day events. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was on hand to kick-off the rededication of our facilities with a ribbon cutting. This year’s event was considerably larger than previous events; several estimates put the attendance around 800. We had activities starting at 1:00 PM through 10:00 PM. There was plenty to see and do for all ages, including a “moonbounce” for the young ones (or the young at heart). In addition to all the activities we had during the day, we were lucky to have some sunspots to look at this year (the sun has been pretty quiet the last few years).
Also, on hand was Ted Paludan, one of the founding members of VBAS (at the time, the Rocket City Astronomical Association) who was interviewed by Steve Doyle of the Huntsville Times. Steve’s article can be found at this link: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2011/10/von_braun_astronomical_society.html as well as many of the photographs taken by Bob Gathany.Following all the daytime activities and planetarium shows there were throngs of people anxiously waiting to look through the 16 and 21 inch telescopes in our observatories, plus the several telescopes out on the observing field. Most of the attendees had a fantastic time looking at the universe through our telescopes. Those that hung around until Jupiter cleared the trees really had a treat to take home with them that night.
Megan Beattie led the charge on this year’s very successful Astronomy Day event. She held several meetings beginning this summer and had lots of help, including Melissa Snider, Richard Norman, Gena Crook, Al Reisz, Tom Burleson, Roy Young, Doug Horcek and many more. In addition to the planning and logistics associated with such an event, we had to have the facilities cleaned up, so a major effort was undertaken to get things spruced up. There were so many folks that helped with getting the facilities ready for our grand-reopening that it would be hard to list them for fear of missing someone. Needless to say, our facilities would not look as good as they do were it not for the effort of many dedicated members and several non-members. Mimmo Demartino, Director of Facilities choreographed much of the efforts of the volunteers and has kept up with all the projects and their progress which he has listed in the facilities news section of our website at: http://www.vbas.org/index.php/facilitiesnews
Thanks go out to all the VBAS members, family and friends of members and all the friends of VBAS who helped with this year’s Astronomy Day event. It could not have been the success it was without your help and dedication. It was an…astronomical effort.