Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Astro Babes - and Operation Moonwatch

When the Russians launched their Sputniks - astronomers, both professional and amateur - turned their eyes to the skies.  An initiative called "Operation Moonwatch" - organized by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory - had its roots in the Cold War's Ground Observer Corps and the Civil Air Patrol.  

Amateur astronomers world-wide turned their scopes to the night skies to assist the professionals who were tracking the Soviet satellites.  

Members of the Moonwatch team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin observed and kept notes on
the re-entry of Sputnik 4 on the evening of September 4, 1962.

You can access a document detailing those events here.

The Moonwatch people prepared the above map showing the trajectory of the "last 100 miles" of the falling satellite.

It is quite appropriate, then, that another team of amateur astronomers - the Astro Babes - set up their equipment at this year's Sputnikfest only a few short steps away from the Sputnik 4 impact site.

Lynn and Amy (Real Women, Real Astronomy) and their Astronomical Entourage gave demonstrations of various equipment capable of daytime viewing.  

They are considering bringing additional scopes next year and sticking around for night sky observations!  Thanks Lynn and Amy - hope to see you, and anyone else with an interest in astronomy or wacky tacky fun, at Sputnikfest next year!   Planet Terry

1 comment:

  1. Hey Terry - Thank you so much for letting us come and share what we love with all of your Sputnikfest fans! It was really great to finally meet you! We had such fun wearing our tin foil hats and sharing some views of the sun. Too bad the sun didn't cooperate and give us any cool sunspots to see. We got to meet a lot of people, some of whom had never looked through a telescope before! They had a lot of great questions and stories to share. I was a little disappointed though, once again I didn't win any money in the alien drop!
    We shared our experience with our readers and it seems to be a popular page!
    Thanks again,
    Amy and Lynn