Visit to the Peninsular Astronomical Society (by Neil Short)
A visit to the Peninsular Astronomical Society, California (Established 1949)
On the route home from a business trip to both Canada and the USA, I found myself south of San Francisco with a free Saturday morning. A quick review on the wonderful web identified that the Peninsular Astronomical Society (PAS) was offering Solar Observing at 10a.m. – what better way to spend a sunny morning.
1. The Observatory
The venue was the Foothills College Observatory in the Los Altos Hills. The Society, some 200 strong offers a full programme of Public Meetings, Observing Nights (and days) and a monthly Newsletter; just like the NEAS I hear you say. Unfortunately (for the NEAS) the similarity ends there; being near to Silicon Valley, being in California or just being in the USA meant that the PAS had a good number of worthy patrons. Both the primary telescope (a 16” LX200) and the co-mounted solar telescope (Solarmax 60) have been donated to the Society. Most if not all public speakers (a liberal sprinkling of worthy Professors and experts in the field) offered Public presentations for free.2. The Primary telescope
3. Jeff with the Solarmax
But enough of jealousy, we had a clear sky (it is California!) for solar viewing and saw a good few prominences – unfortunately we are at a solar minimum so little in the way of sun spots. Jeff Buell, our PAS host spent time explaining the specifics of Hα viewing (I helped a little as numbers grew). A good little visit, I promised to look them up when next in town, hopefully for a spot of night observing. If I make it, look out for my next instalment.
4. Sun shot through Solarmax