Star Party for Students of Pacific Collegiate Charter School - Aug 6, 2010

My former student Marsha Marani, got very enthusiastic about astronomy after my class, and is now working at Orion Telescope Center. Her twin daughters Cheyenne and Jasmine had their 15th birthday today, and they invited a big group of fellow students from the Pacific Collegiate Charter School to join in a celebration, and a star party up at Bonny Doon. The fun got started at Upper Crust Pizza, where we all had way too much beer (well, not the teens) and pizza. Then, on up to near Lockheed where one of the parents owned a home site already cleared and a spectacular overlook down to the fog tops below.

The pizza was popular; properly fueled for a night of stellar explorations

The birthday twins were Cheyenne (second from left) and Jasmine (second from right)

This is - your basic dobsonian telescope. No need for fear, ladies (the twins seem unsure)

Tonight was also special for having a rare triple conjunction: Saturn, Mars, and Venus all made a tiny right triangle, which was the first set of targets

Jasmine examines the Whirlpool Galaxy

Marsha was kind enough to bring up a great scope from Orion, and I showed the complete hit parade of the summer skies to the group - star formation regions, globular clusters, open clusters, binary stars, all the constellation figures.

Enough with the flashes, Nolthenius! OK, last picture. Later we settled in for some meteor watching, seeing a couple of Perseids, including one quite bright, and numerous satellites