Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School’s football field was transformed into an intergalactic vista Saturday night with the help of some backyard astronomers and their powerful telescopes.
The SD and G Backyard Astronomers took part in International Astronomy Day by hosting a couple of events in Cornwall on the weekend – one of which was a public display that included a chance to get up close and personal with the Moon and a variety of galaxies and planets.
One by one a small group of curious onlookers took turns peering through the eyepieces of club members’ telescopes. One of the biggest attractions was Richard Henri’s view of the Moon.
Thanks to a telescope that looked like something out of NASA, Henri was able to provide onlookers with crisp images of the surface of the Moon with such detail one could almost see dust powdering the caters that dot the lunar landscape.
“You can really see the depth of the Moon craters,” Henri said as he set the telescope up for another glimpse of the Moon for an eager couple.
Henri was bitten by the astronomy bug when he purchased a telescope for a family member as a gift. Once he saw how easy it was to start getting crisp images of planets through the telescope he was hooked.
“Once that happened, I had to get one for myself,” said Henri. “And I left the wallet on the cash.”
Like any other hobby, the sky is indeed the limit when it comes to the prices some will pay to look to the heavens.
Henri’s Celestron CPC 1100 telescope looks like it could easily shoot lasers at flying saucers while also gathering images from space. It can be hooked up to a laptop, to allow for computer control of its targets. A digital camera is also attached to allow for photo taking.
All in the telescope is worth somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000.
But astronomers will tell you it’s worth it, with just one look into the eyepiece.
“We can see galaxies, Saturn, Mars, Venus…and of course the Moon,” said Dan Bobka, also a member of the SD and G Backyard Astronomers. “And this is the time to do it.”
Saturday night’s crisp, cool air made it a perfect night for stargazing.
The backyard astronomers also had a display at the Cornwalll Public Library during the day, which afforded viewers the chance to look at sunspots.