TROY — Members of the Stillwater Stargazers club gathered on the square in downtown Troy on Friday, Sept. 2, setting up telescopes and high-powered binoculars for a public demonstration.
“It’s a good time,” club outreach Chairman Mike Feinstein said. “The moon can be seen in daylight; it’s going to go right across the southern sky.”
Club members set up two telescopes and a pair of binoculars for the demonstration, which was held from 8 to 10 p.m. on the northwest corner of the square, as part of downtown Troy’s monthly First Friday event.
One of the largest and most powerful telescopes on display was actually hand-built by club member Rex Kindell.
“This is my own scope,” he said. “I re-designed it and re-built it.”
Approximately 4-feet-long, the telescope took more than six months to build, and can also be used to take photos. Kindell has been a member of the Stillwater Stargazers for 18 years.
“I build a lot of my own stuff,“ Kindell said. “I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was a teenager.”
The Stillwater Stargazers Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month; club members meet indoors during the winter and outdoors during the warmer summer months. The club is always seeking new members, and no special equipment is required to join the group.
“There’s no requirement that you have equipment,” Feinstein said. “We have been meeting at the Stillwater Prairie Reserve.”
“When the weather is warm in the summer months, we like to meet outside so we can set up our telescopes after the meeting,” he said. “During the winter, we have secured a reservation with the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center; we meet on the second floor in a meeting room there.”
The club was started in the late 1980s, and has now grown to include approximately 15-20 members. More information can be found online at www.stillwaterprairie.com, or on the Stillwater Stargazers Club Facebook page.
“There is some question about exactly when the club got started,” Feinstein said. “I believe it was somewhere around the late ‘80s; it could have been as early as 1985 or 1986.”
The club will return to downtown Troy for another demonstration starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.
“Oct. 1 is International Observe the Moon Night,” Feinstein said. “People all over the world will be looking at the moon that night.”
“It will be in a similar phase as tonight’s moon, because it’s just about a month away,” he said. “The right half of the moon will be lit; we call that the first quarter, because it is the first quarter of the whole rotation around the Earth.”
“We’ll be here on Oct. 1,” Feinstein said. “We’ll probably be setting up just about the same time, on the square in pretty much the same place.”