Our summer “dog” days are hot and humid and typically cloudy. Observing nights are limited, but when they happen you learn to move quickly. July 31 was one of those nights–it was clear and calm for a few hours. I grabbed the little 80mm refractor that we use in astronomy kits that we sent to our friends in the Philippines. Our Philippine friends are still very new observers. While we trained them, it takes a little experience to gain confidence.
I wanted to take the same scope they have and use the same guidance we taught them to observe some summer objects. July 31 was my chance to do some quick example observing sheets with the same media and equipment they can use. I quickly sketched M8, M16, and M22. The next day I scanned them and sent them to the staff I had trained. The whole objective of the exercise was to say, “you can do it!” It may take them a little longer and their observing sheets may not be quite as complete, but they can do it.
When we return, we will be setting up a permanent observing area with an 8 inch SCT. We will retrain the same staff but go further. Later we go to little villages and schools, where the same staff is likely to help us train others and give demonstrations to people who have never used or seen optics before.
It is a humbling experience because we live with so much and waste so much. We are seemingly economically insulated. Or are we? After you review the second observing sheet on M16 (The Swan Nebula) below, I invite you to this page: ( http://christworksministries.org/inspiration_houses_on_sand) where you can see some pictures and a story about the origin of true stability for a life. It might be an encouragement to know that stability need not rest on the economic situation around us.