Local astronomer Dr. Trey Wenger organized half a dozen Star Gazing Nights across Penticton in 2021. It was a great success with approximately 200 people peering through the scope at several locations along the city’s beaches.
“The biggest success was seeing people’s reactions when they looked through the telescope.” Noted Wenger, “They peer through the scope quietly, hesitate, then glance at me with a dumbfounded expression. Usually, they say something like “That isn’t real!” Then they get excited and look through the scope again. I enjoy teaching people about all of the interesting phenomena in the sky that they never knew were there!”
Over the year, neighbours looked at Saturn, Jupiter, and the Andromeda Galaxy.
Wenger noted that the biggest challenge was finding a heavily foot trafficked location without much light pollution. Skaha Lake Park was good during the end of the Summer, but once it started getting cold, there was much less traffic.
“I hope to get back at it as soon as it’s not so cold! We had one other astronomer (a professor at the college) help out with one of the sidewalk astronomy events, and several more are eager to get involved next year.”