★ PINE GLADES • FRIDAY DECEMBER 11 – JOHN O’BRIEN
Pine Glades ERM Sunset Hike and Star Gaze event
Success at last! After several months of cancelations due to overcast or rainy skies, we were
able to get back to the Pine Glades Natural area. As part of our agreement with the County to
use the area for our star viewing, we agreed to assist them with their outreach programs two
or three times a year.
Their event was originally scheduled for Dec. 10TH, but was moved to Friday night due to
overcast skies. They had 33 eager participants who arrived at 5:00 PM for the guided sunset
hike. Large flocks of birds (ibis, storks, ducks, along with many others) where observed collecting
for the night, as well as a beautiful sunset in the West.
Meanwhile, the club members set up an array of telescopes. Many thanks to club members Sid,
Quin, Hans, Steve, Eleanor, Joe (and granddaughter Angelica), Sam, and Irene for their assistance
After the hikers returned, they were treated to many celestial objects including a very bright
mag. 6.9 Iridium 37 flare at 19:24. They oohed and aahed at such views of objects such as
Albireo, the double star in Cygnus, M31 the Andromeda Galaxy, M57 the Ring Nebula, the
Pleiades, the double cluster NGC 884 in Perseus, and many others. As the evening went on and
our friend the Orion Constellation rose slowly in the East, many of the scopes turned to the
Trapezium and the great Nebula. Some of the more adventurous aimed their scopes at the
Spiral galaxy M34 and other delights.
Many observed “shooting stars” from the Geminid meteor shower currently in progress as well
as several satellites passing overhead along with the many fireflies in the nearby fields.
The only things missing where the Mosquitoes!
Wishing all clear skies, John