Astronomy Benalla
Reports - 2014
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Moon Occultation of Saturn - Saturday 22nd February 2014 The morning of Saturday 22nd Feb loomed clear and bright, ensuring good conditions at the Benalla Market for the viewing of the Moon occulting the ringed planet Saturn. A clear grassy site was chosen ensuring a low westerly horizon sky for the expected action. John & Rupe arrived early at 9-30am in time to set up four scopes sufficient for the expected crowd of visitors. The 200mm dia Dobsonian, with a 96 mag eyepiece framed the Moon nicely; the 102 mm refractor set at 50 x mag gave a wide angle view to ensure there was space for the approach and the emerging planet. We also set up the Personal Solar Telescope for the viewers to observe the sun whilst they were waiting for the occultation. Right on time several of the public were rewarded in seeing Saturn disappearing into the Moon’s bright limb adjacent to Grimaldi crater. John’s scope was set to track the planet and despite the brightness of the day we were rewarded with an image of the receding Saturn. Over the 2 hour period we had about 100 attend and eager to see through the scopes. Viewers included visitors from Euroa & Cobram. Several were so impressed, that they requested information on how to join ‘Astronomy Benalla’   and better learn how to use their telescopes more efficiently. Even when the occultation was over by 11-05am visitors continued to view the Moon and Sun, up until 12-30pm. A very gratifying outreach event.  Rupe Cheetham
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