November 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm #5298rob from altairParticipant
It was a rewarding night last night at the VA Hospital in Coatesville where Chris Fesset and I put on a small starparty for veterans suffering from PTSD who are in residence at the hospital. The event was coordinated with a small nonprofit group called SOLDIER SANCTUARY
It was definitely the most light polluted star party in a very long time, but the moon saved the night! There are actually two decent locations that I had looked at in advance of the event, but we could not make them work last night so had to improvise in the parking lot.
We had about 15-20 vets come out over the course of an hour and 45 minutes. We showed them our telescopes (Chris’s 16” dob and my 6” refractor) and explained the differences between them. The vets enjoyed panning along the terminator and looking at the craters and shadows. They also enjoyed trying to take pictures through the eyepiece on their cell phones. They were actually somewhat successful. They also enjoyed comparing views through our 2 scopes but Chris’s high power views of la luna was the highlight of the evening.
This is an event I had been planning for months but weather and personal schedules never coincided until last night. I did not put this forth as a club event since it was only going to require one or two people to manage. We may try it again before the end of the year but most certainly again in the spring.
A very special thank you to Chris, not just for volunteering to help, but for his enthusiasm with the vets who showed up. It certainly helped that Chris is a vet, I think the guys respected that ver much. Thanks Chris!
Quick background: Soldier Sanctuary’s purpose is to get the vets outdoors to cope with their disorder. They are taken hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, etc… Anything to get them outdoors and moving. I contacted the founder when I became aware of the organization, and although astronomy is not exactly a moving hobby, the director was excited about getting the guys out under the skies. Based on the turnout and excitement last night, I think we will have a bigger turnout the next night.November 5, 2019 at 5:03 pm #5299November 5, 2019 at 5:23 pm #5300FredModerator
Well done, Chris and Rob. Noble gestures for noble warriors.November 5, 2019 at 9:47 pm #5302SkyraiderModerator
Nicely done guys. I salute your efforts to help those who have volunteered to go to hell and back so each one of us can enjoy life in the greatest country on God’s green earth. Proud both of you are members of our club!November 17, 2019 at 10:15 am #5327ChrisfParticipant
Appreciate the Kudos guys! The biggest Kudo goes to Rob for setting up and arranging the event. I don’t hesitate to say that this was the most satisfying, rewarding and encouraging star party that I’ve done. Of course, it’s always fun sharing the heavens with people at star parties, but this one was different. These guys are suffering mightily for serving us. Who knows what positive effect their looking at the moon, in a telescope, will have on their recovery. Perhaps it’ll expand their horizons beyond the walls of their hospital and their individual issues, if even for just a few minutes. To kind of see the “big picture”. We tend to avoid the moon, but these guys were truly floored at seeing it in a way that they’d never seen it before. I’ve never had so much fun observing the moon as I did that night. One guy even said that he used to look at the moon in his sniper scope! It was truly an honor being able to give something back to my fellow brothers-in-arms! Can’t wait until next time! Oh, yeah, and I never thought that I’d ever participate in a star party that was more light polluted than the ones at the Audubon Sanctuary and the Limerick nuke plant!!!!
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