Big Bopper Parties and a question

From: George Zack <>
Subject: Big Bopper Parties and a question
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 19:07:53 -0700

Hey Gang,

Sorry that I have been so quiet ...

Here at Gilpin County School in the heart of the Rockies, we are fortunate
enough to have a relatively powerful telescope (a six inch lens and an
eight inch lens with an attached camera).  I am more of an educator
geologist than an educator astronomer but we have been cranking open our
observatory once a week (weather permitting) to grab a view of Hale-Bopp.
We have been also fortunate to see Mars, Jupiter and Jupiter's moons.  Last
week we also were fortunate enough to catch a bit of the waning moon just
before dawn.

When I started annoucing to kids, and staff that the observatory was going
to be open at 4:30 (which calls for me waking up at 3:00) everyone said I
was nuts.  To my suprise, we have had those naysayers showing up in the
cold early mornings!  We have had an attendance of about 10-20 each time
that the scope was open.  Since we only have 345 kids K-12, I feel that
this is a pretty good turnout.

Anyway ... I also have a question.  As I recall the sky is lined with
imaginary lines called right ascension and declination (very similar to lat
and long on the Earth).  This celestial sphere appears to rotate about the
Earth because f the Earth's rotation.  If you know the RA, and dec of a
star you can simply dial up that star .. and wham! ... There it is in your
scope.  At least this is how I remember it while I was at UCONN (Go Lady

Here is the problem ... that does not work on this scope ...I tried dialing
something up and I seemed to me that the scope started cranking into the
wrong direction.  Since this scope was donated by a local gentlemen (Who is
apprently out of the area and is a bit difficult to get a hold of), and put
in by a few local good doers ... I suspect my problem may be one of two
things:  1.)  the scope is not lined up with this reference frame (-- if
this is the case, how would I line it up?), or I am doing something
fundamentally wrong.

Your thoughts?


George Zack		Gilpin County School District RE-1
MS/HS Science Educator	Home of the Eagles /Elevation: 9200' AMSL		10595 Highway 119, Black Hawk CO 80403
303-582-3444 ext 353