…back down to the valley, valley so low…

2011-11-14 17:28:39.000 – Judy Heininger,  Weather Discovery Center Attendant

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…back down to the valley, valley so low… I have the privilege ofworking at the Weather Discovery Center for the Mount WashingtonObservatory, at the Observatory’s valley headquarters in North Conway. With that position came the opportunity to participate in this year’sfirst winter overnight EduTrip: Studying Stars from the Summit. Aspromised, Dave McDonald, Director of Education at the McAuliffe-ShepardDiscovery Center, provided an overview of basic observational astronomy. We learned about ‘star hopping’ as a way to remember constellations, wegot to check out refractive, reflective, and hydrogen alpha telescopes(this last one is for looking at the sun, which we did on Sunday). A newpiece of information for me was finding out that the Big Dipper: is not aconstellation, but an asterism (okay, okay, I’m a neophyte!). Because themountain was in fog all Saturday afternoon and evening, we had Weather Observer/MeteorologistRyan Knapp wake us (about 3 a.m.) when the fog cleared. Bathed inmoonlight, with above-freezing temps and in the lee of the Sherman Adamsbuilding, telescopes were set up. We saw the sparkling moons of Jupiter,Orion, Mars, the Pleiades, and much more. Although awake is not how Iwould have defined myself, I still wouldn’t hesitate to get out of bed atthat time of the morning to get to look at the stars from the summit ofMt. Washington. Overall I had an excellent time at the summit. Ourgratitude to the Observers for delicious meals and for sharing their spacewith us. Marty looks his ever-fabulous self, and sends his regards to allin the valley and beyond. And for heavens sake, if you are thinking ofgoing on an EduTrip, do everything you can to make it happen! It’s aunique opportunity that you just don’t want to miss! And don’t forget tovisit Lynn or I in the Weather Discovery Center when you come throughtown, we’d love to see you.

 

Judy Heininger,  Weather Discovery Center Attendant

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