My New Outside Blog: Summer Fun in Houston -- The George Observatory -- Part 1

Summer Fun in Houston -- The George Observatory -- Part 1

Bob Sees Stars -- The George Observatory -- Part 1

Here is a map of the park.  There are lots of hiking trails, picnic areas, camping and fishing to be had. For more park information click here.   BEWARE of the alligators.  Saturday nights the public can look through the telescopes in the observatories.

park map

Last night I went to the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park.  I was excited because my brother Bob was operating the 18" telescope there.  There was also a private party of about 45 people there.

Park info

The dome my brother operated last night is the smalller dome on the right hand side.  The large one on the left has a 3' diameter mirror.  I went in that dome as well.  The amazing thing about that one is that the floor is on an elevator that brings you up to the eyepiece. 

Bob's dome

Here is my brother Bob walking into his dome.  He was the only operator of this telescope last night, so he got to look at what ever space objects he chose.  The viewings started at around 8:30pm and we ended up looking through the telescope until about 10:45pm.

Bob w/ telescope

Here is Bob at one end of the 18" telescope.  The 18" refers to the diameter of the mirror in the telescope. 

Bob prepping

Here is Bob doing prep work on the telescope.  He adjusts the telescope and then spins the dome around to see the slice of sky he wants.  We saw Venus, Saturn, M13 and a few nebulas.  One of them was the Whirlpool nebula.

Johnson Space Center sign

There are many astronomical societies that run the telescopes here.  Here is one of the seals from the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society, along with their website of www.jscas.net.

astronomical society of se texas

I have never heard of this one, the Astronomical Society of South East Texas, and their website of asset-astronomer.org.

deer at park

I passed these deer while I was in the park on the way to the observatory.  What a great night.  I suggest wearing cool clothing in the summer and also bring a flashlight.  See part 2 for more pictures. 

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Liz Flint
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Century 21 Hardee-Team Realty
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Comment balloon 2 commentsLiz Flint • July 10 2010 12:41PM

Comments

Seems like a great place to spend summer a peaceful and lovely site. I love the deer.

Posted by Pat Champion, Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs (Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty) over 10 years ago

This is my brother Bob's report about the viewing.  This is what he said the next day:

It was a pretty good night in the East Dome yesterday.  Clear skies and no Moon plus high humidity made for some fair viewing.

    Early on we looked at Venus briefly before it went behind the big 36" dome.  It was just a little larger than first quarter phase.   Then before it got really dark we spotted Saturn and it was a crowd pleaser.   As it got dark we could easily see 3 satellites and a host of background stars.  The bino-viewers added some clarity to the rings and planet.  The shadow of the rings was clearly visible on the planets' surface.  Next up was globular cluster M-13 rising in the east.  It was a nice view and we could resolve many individual stars.   We tried to see M-51, the Whirlpool Galaxy but it was just barely visible.   I believe the high humidity, plus the light pollution, makes it very difficult to view such objects.   M-57, the ring nebula was pretty good.  It seemed to be hanging in space with background stars all around it.    The crowd left about 10 PM and I spotted many globular clusters coming up in the southeast near Scorpius and Ophiuchus area.  M10 and M12 were pretty good.   The Dumbell Nebula, M-27 was bright, although still fairly low in the east by 11 P.M.  The place was deserted by the time I packed up.  I could see the Milky Way with ease rising in the southeast.

   It was a good evening and I think the crowd was satisfied with what they experienced.

   It will be great when the weather gets cool and dry around October or November.  Then the viewing will improve considerably.

Bob

Posted by Liz Flint, Houston\Tomball Realtor (832)816-8066 (Century 21 Hardee-Team Realty) over 10 years ago

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