The Star Guide

   "The Universe for Everyone"
Image above by Robert Gendler.  This is the Orion Nebula, M42 and M43 in the constellation of Orion.   When looking through a telescope you will not be able to see the colors shown above.  Our eyes are not capable of seeing colors above or below the visible spectrum range of colors we see every day.  Colors in deep space objects are only visible in photographs and digital images.  In telescopes this image will appear white to gray tones.  During the winter and early spring observing periods, attendees will be able to see this spectacular object.  When viewing the planets, color will be visible since Sun light will be reflected from the surface.

Several images shown on this website are by Robert Gendler.  You can view these images in fantastic detail at his website.  Click on the link below

             Meet the volunteers that have assisted The Star Guide:


     Former volunteer that has assisted the Star guide:

Dr. Bob Johnston, retired physicist and optical engineer 
     using his 9 1/4" Celestron Schmidt-cassegrain. 
     He is an accomplished astrophotographer . 

 Leonard Higgins, astronomer and retired teacher, with his homemade newtonian telescope.  He is an accomplished machinist and makes telescope parts at
his home
       machine shop.  He has received a significant achievement
       award for his homemade spectrohelioscope at the Riverside
      Telescope Making Conference in 1998.


      Meet Dale Rosemeyer, an accomplished amateur astronomer.
      He is shown with his 20" Obsession reflector which shows
      gorgeous images of nebula, galaxies, and star clusters. 
      Dale usually brings this gigantic telescope to the observing sessions. 


        This amateur astronomer has moved to Utah.

Dan Parker and his daughter Sarah.  Dan is an amateur astronomer
        who is very active in astronomy.  He is shown with his
        Meade LX75 6" refractor.  His daughter uses a Televue
        refractor.  Both instruments show crisp images of the
        planets and Moon.  Dan also has a 20" Obsession
        telescope which he may bring to observing sites.

      I appreciate their services as volunteers to assist in
      observing sessions for the public at Skyline Park and
      other observing areas.  They are all experts in selecting
      equipment for observing.  Their  knowledge of the night
      sky will take you to the edge of our galaxy and to
      distances millions of light years away anytime of the
      year.  You will get a chance to meet them at upcoming
      star gazing events.

     Napa High School, Napa, California.  Classes were requested by Janet Mendelsohn,
     biology teacher, to present information on "The Origin of the Solar System and the
     Age of the Earth."  Students were 9th graders to 11th graders; 15 students in the
     Early flight class:  7:00 to 7:50am; 29 students from 8:00 to 8:56am; 29 students from
    10:20 to 11:10am.  Information on Relative Dating of the Earth was covered.   
    Geological events of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic deposits using
    horizontal, superposition, cross cutting, inclusion, and faunal succession which
    included the evolution of life fossils correlation to age was presented.  The most
    important information on the Earth's age was discussed using Radiometric Dating
    (Radioactive Dating) using the half life of Uranium 238 (4.5 billion years.)  Also
    discussed was Uranium 235 decay (2.2 billion years), radioactive Nitrogen decay, 
    and Carbon 14 decay which is only used to determine the age in fossils due to its shorter half life.

Northridge Elementary Students in July 2010

Students learn to identify 
the Color of Stars

Browns Valley Elementary School, Napa, CA

42 students, teachers, and parents were able to observe the planet Saturn and the Color of Stars.  Students learned the colors by remembering the letters OBAFGKM which refers to "Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me" or "Oh Be A Fine Guy Kiss Me" (we do not leave out the other gender.)  Type O Stars are the hottest stars while Type M Stars are cooler.  Our Sun is a Type G star with a surface temperature of about 10,000 degrees f


Northwood Elementary School, Napa CA - July 18th, 2011 

This is last years photo,  This year 11 students learned the color of stars and were able to observe Saturn and different colored stars.

The planet Saturn as seen through a telescope



Solar Gazing at Napa High School - 2009 and 2010
Requested by Rob Kohl, science chair

Over 425 science students were able to observe the Sun's prominence, Sun Spots, filaments and minor solar flares in 2009.

During the 2010 school year only 225 science students participated in observing the Sun.

This year a new Meade Coronado SolarMax 90mm II will be used that shows breath-taking detail on the Sun's photosphere.  Prominence will appear to be in 3D as they fold back onto the Sun.  Below is what the Sun will look like through the Meade instruments Coronado SolarMax 90mm ll Double Stacked Hydrogen-Alpha filter System with internal etalons.  This is a photograph of detail you will see.  It will be much more vivid and prominance at the edge will appear to be in 3D when looped over the edge.

This is a picture of the Sun as it looks through a Meade Instrument SolarMax 90mm telescope Type 2.  It has double Etalon Hydrogen-Alpha Filters so that you can see tremendous detail at the Sun's surface (photosphere/Chromosphere.)

Free programs are available for schools in the Napa Valley Area and other Bay Area Schools.  A discussion on space weather and how it effects the Earth's climate changes will be discussed.  Programs run from 8am to 3pm.  There is no cost for this program.  The Star Guide is your host.



The Farmers Market at Oxbrow, Napa CA - July 6th, 2011

Photograph shows the Meade Coronado PST (Personal Solar Telescope) 40mm and the Meade Coronado SolarMax II 90mm Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope piggy-backed on a Meade LX200 8" Schmidt-cassegrain telescope.  The LX200 was not used to observe the Sun - the optics were covered to avoid damage to eyes.

The booth setup at the Farmers Market.  Overhead fog prevented most visitors from being able to look at the Sun through Meade Instruments Coronado PST 40mm Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope and the new Meade Coronado SolarMax 90mm II Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope.  A total of 1,403 visitors were counted.  82 visitors from other areas picked up free material on the Solar Dynamics Observatory in orbit.  56 local visitors asked about equipment and how they were able to see the Sun through a telescope.  They were informed that blocking filters in the telescopes remove harmful light and they are able to see the Sun in a red color which is the result of Hydrogen gas being ionized in the 4th state of matter which is plasma.  Several children with local parents were given free material (posters, post cards, stickers, holograms of the Sun on cards, and DVDs on Cosmic Collisions.)  The fog cleared about 15 minutes before closing time and several visitors were able to see prominence and a large Sun Spot through both telescopes  provided.  This event will continue through the month of September.  Dates will be announced on the calendar below.


This is an image of Comet Hale Bopp I had taken
in 1997

with an Olympus 0M1 35mm camera.


Comet ISON will appear in the morning sky beginning October 31 in the southeast.  Look near the constellation Virgo.  On the 17th and 18th of November it should be at its brightest appearance.  You only need to be up at about 1 hour before sunrise to see this beautiful comet.  The gas trail will be a blue  or greenish color while the dust tail will be white to yellowish.  You do not need a telescope to see this comet.  Your eyes are all that is needed . . . or you can use a pair of binoculars.

This is Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) as seen in 2012.  Amateur telescopes revealed its tiny head, its growing outer atmosphere that astronomers call the coma, and its lengthening tail.  And, as we see here, long-exposure images also show the comet's greenish color.  Adam Block captured this image through a 32-inch Schulman Telescope and an SBIG STX-16803 CCD camera.  It's RGB image with exposures of 18, 18, and 16 minutes, respectively, taken October 8, 2013, from the University of Arizona's Mount Lemmon SkyCenter.



Presentations and events are listed on the calendar below.

Should you attend one of the events, please bring chairs and dress warm.  Attendees should bring their children for demonstrations that are held.  Children will be selected to participate in demonstrations. 

The purpose of presentations and demonstrations are to increase knowledge of astronomy promoted by NASA on missions and discoveries and promoting the STEM Program for students.

Make sure your flashlight lens is covered with red plastic or cellophane to avoid loss of your night vision  NO WHITE LIGHTS PLEASE AS THEY INTERFERE WHEN LOOKING THROUGH TELESCOPES.

We will bring telescopes to look at different colored stars, visible planets, the Moon if visible and deep space objects.  Attendees may bring their own telescopes but should arrive at least 1 hour early to set up their equipment.  We will 
be using Green Light Lasers to point out constellations and objects we will be observing. 

If the presentation and event is during the day to observe the Sun we will be using special solar telescopes with filters that can not harm your eyes to observe the sun's photosphere for filaments (dark lines that are prominence) dark sun spots, white or light colored areas which are plaga and areas that may create corona mass ejection.  Prominence can be seen along the edge of the sun extending up above the chromosphere as loops of plasma or tornado like lines extending up from the chromosphere. 

Expected cloud cover or rain will cancel the presentation and event and be rescheduled.  Some presentations and demonstrations will be indoors at given locations using LED TVs to show events, NASA missions and discoveries. 

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