Saturn and Lunar Observing April 24th 2010

No sketches from my session tonight, but a few fun moments and some personal insight from me. So no need to read this if you don't want to. It's about the moon, Saturn, my son and I, and some clouds. That sums it up so now you can fly on your way or you can park for just a moment on the superhighway and perhaps enjoy our moment.

Tonight I took a break and set up the XT8 out front and decided to spend some father son time with my 16 year old Nathan, and see if he was up to snuff to finding some stuff. He was, and he declared winter over with and and is now observing with me again. He won't come out in the winter. Too cold for him! We enjoyed chasing Saturn, and has a pretty decent view at times at 240x using the 5mm Hyperion with the XT8. After spending a half hour with Saturn we decided it was time to start learning the moon together. We had a really good view of Gassendi and the craters surrounding it and was going to sketch it . . . oh, and my son is kinda of excited now and has decided he can probably out sketch me and so a sketch off was on, and then kaboom, in come the clouds flying like they are chasing a witch in October on her broomstick. Shut that session down.

Crater Gassendi

The positive though is I had a fun two hours with my son, and it provided a common bond for us. He's sixteen, that stage where he wants his independence while yet wanting to cling at to the stability of home. I wonder if as adults if we also want those same things, independence while having the stability of our home and family? Tonight shows why am I so passionate about young people from my son's age and down learning to use scopes. If you could have seen Nathan beaming with self-confidence as I called out some of the major Messier and Double Stars for him to track down, and he did in a matter of moments, swiftly moving from atlas to telrad to the eyepiece, that made this Dad proud.

I don't know if observing is something he'll take up on his own, or if it will be one of those things he simply does with Dad to be with Dad, only time will tell. Much like fishing though, this links us together and provides with us something to share. Perhaps that is the greatest gift of all that his hobby teaches if we let it. The ability to share and reach beyond ourselves and connect with our loved ones, our friends and complete strangers that occasionally become new friends, lasting friends. It reminds us we are interlocked together on this spaceship called Earth.

I'd say stay tune for tomorrow but I have training at our club the next two days on our 16 inch scope and Tuesday I renew my certification on our 8 inch refractor. I do have say that I have decided to sketch either Saturn or Jupiter or both by signing up to use the 8inch Brandt refractor our club has this year.