Since 2016, I’ve had the privilege of being the public presenter at the L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area for the monthly public stargazing sessions. So far, these regular monthly events were a smashing success. People came from near and far, with anywhere from 50 to over 100 people in attendance at a time; a LOT of people for our little observing pad!
Every month from May to September on the weekend closest to the new moon, I host these public viewing events. These presentations last about 90 minutes, start with a laser-guided tour of the constellations and other naked eye objects, followed up with telescopic views of planets, nebulae, clusters, and galaxies.
For the first event of 2016 – Witness the Spring Sky – I had the honour of being the co-host to renown author and astronomer Terence Dickinson who led the presentation. Terence, whose books launched me into my pursuit of astronomy and astrophotography, entrusted me to lead the rest of the events for 2016.
Starting in 2017, I’ve also been offering sky tours to private groups. They’re similar in format and content to the public events, but can be tailored to the interests of the group.
A secondary part to these summer presentations was astrophotography. The main tour and viewing sessions lasted from 90 to 120 minutes. Once complete, I started teaching aspiring night sky photographers the art of photographing the night sky. Most of this was wide-field Milky Way photography, but I lent my experience to several novice deep sky photographers who came to attempt shooting deep sky for the first time.