Just back from dinner in Fells Point, where my wife and I ran into Baltimore's Street-Corner Astronomer, Herman Heyn.
Herman had Jupiter in his sights this evening, along with all four Galilean moons, strung out like beads on either side of the planet's disk. (Photo left)
Even with the naked eye, passersby could see the planet rising above the Recreation Pier, the brightest object in the sky, except for a VERY bright three-quarter moon.
Too many people walk by Herman, a familiar figure on the Baltimore waterfront for decades. Herman has introduced thousands people to the night sky, amazing kids and grownups - on the square in Fells Point, or at Harborplace - with what is often their first look at a planet, directly, with their own eyes.
Whether it is striped Jupiter with its moons, ringed Saturn or a crescent Venus, those who stop for a minute and look are invariably impressed, often wowed.
Herman asks no more than a word of thanks (though donations are welcome). Next time you see him and
his telescope, stop and say hello, and ask him what's up in the sky tonight. You won't be disappointed.
Anyway, after getting a long look at Jupiter and the moon through Herman's eyepiece, I went home and hauled my little telescope onto the front sidewalk.
The sky was clear and dry, around 65 degrees, a perfect evening for hanging out under the stars. I grabbed my little point-and-shoot Canon, stuck the lens into the eyepiece of my telescope, snapped the shutter and hoped for the best.
Here's how they turned out. Not bad for an backyard astronomy hack like me.
(SUN PHOTOS: Frank Roylance, Meade ETX-90, Canon Powershot SD1100 IS)