Flying Saucers aliens landed in my yard a week before Halloween. I expected them to be giant spiders, but then Phil Plait posted this article about people who had never seen the stars. The nearest science center is more than an hour away, and the neighborhood kids were as unfamiliar with space as the people in Phil’s blog. So while putting Tiger’s almost 4ft tall Dobsonian telescope in the yard on a night known for mischief might been crazy, it was something I’d looked forward to for months.
Hence the two flying saucers – a 7ft landed and 4 ft crashed, each with flashing lights and remote control smoke machines, and a pair of aliens made from found items. The aliens came out first, a week before the big night. Neighbors immediately started asking us what our plans were. We just told them to bring the kids. Then on Halloween night we set out the telescope and the sign. We blew up alien head balloons so the really little kids could take part in the fun.
Before too long we had our first princess.
A few of the adults didn’t know what a refractor was, or where you looked from. We decided everyone should have a look. It turned out the kids were more patient. This Amazon Princess even let her Mom go first.
The telescope is on a pivot system, just about anyone can move it. Parents expected it to be too heavy, but the kids grabbed it with both hands. Each one of them announced what they saw. We had a rather impressive amount of comets and asteroids for a normally calm night. I suppose I should’ve corrected them, pointed out the real stuff, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop them from smiling.
It’s November now. The skulls and pumpkins have been put away. We try not to start planning for next year until December, but there’s already been talk, just vague thoughts about pirate ships or Wonderland mushrooms on the lawn. Funny thing though, every conversation ends with the same question, but how would we tie in the telescope?