Over fifty people attended the Inwood Star Fest at Dyckman Fields April 3. Adrian Benepe, the New York City Parks Commissioner had the lights in the park turned off from 8:15 pm to 10:45 pm. The National Weather Service had rain predicted for April 3, and it rained all day. The Clear Sky Clock held out hope for eight hours of clear skies starting at 7 pm. About 6 the skies cleared, only to cloud over at 7, and 8, with a few sprinkles and lightning. The crowd was pretty game; Jason Kendall made a few remarks, I kept looking at the sky. About 9:30, a few breaks in the clouds showed the Moon, Saturn, Castor and Pollux, Sirius, Arcturus, and finally the entire Big Dipper and Polaris. I pointed my telescope at the Moon, and the other astronomers there found Saturn and the Moon as well. Everyone got a chance to look through a telescope. Although I planned to do astrophotography, there were a line of kids at my telescope. The eyepiece was too far off the ground so I took my eyepiece case (an American Tourister suitcase) and used it as a step, and all the kids could see the craters, mountain ranges and maria on the moon. Something to remember for next time, for, according to Jason, the Parks Commissioner is willing to do another Star Fest. So Dyckman Fields becomes the unofficial Dark Sky Park of Manhattan.
Inwood Star Fest Dyckman Fields April 3: Umbrellas and eypieces required 1 comment