As I mentioned last time, I am at McDonald Observatory with a group of 15 science teachers from across the nation. Last night, we spent several hours looking through an eyepiece on a 36-inch diameter telescope.
Professional astronomers rarely get to look through telescopes. We take many thrilling pictures, but never do any work with our unaided eye.
Last night, we looked at galaxies, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, binary stars, open star clusters, and the planet Jupiter. My personal favorite was the Whirlpool Galaxy. In most amateur telescopes, the spiral arms are hard to see, but in the large telescopes, the spiral arms just jumped right out at me. It was absolutely wonderful -- I could have looked for hours. BUT, alas, the point was for our teachers to look through the telescopes, not the professional astronomers.
Tonight will not be as fun, as it will likely rain. But hopefully our teachers can continue to learn the secrets of astronomy to take back to their classrooms.