Halloween was our final viewing session of 2017 on the High Line, and we had lots of treats: the Moon, Saturn, the Double-Double, the Double Cluster, M57, Albireo, Andromeda, and Alcor/Mizar. Viewers are always amazed at how much we can show them from light-polluted Manhattan, and at how much they can see just by looking up at the night sky.
This year saw a change in the demographic make-up of the thousands of High Line strollers stopping at our scopes. The novelty of the High Line has worn off a bit for the city-dwellers, so there are fewer of them in proportion to the tourists. They come from all over the US, and increasingly from all over the world. In most countries people like to walk; as a result, the foreign guidebooks list the High Line as one of the best walking destinations in the city. From Norway to Nepal, Tanzania to Taiwan, they come to our scopes. Think UN without the acrimony – it’s a great experience.
We’ve also garnered a bit of media attention because of our location. The highlight this year was our cooperation with the film crew that produced “Death Dive to Saturn,” the story of Cassini that appeared on NOVA. The scenes of people viewing Saturn, and their awestruck reactions to its jewel-like appearance and those magical rings, were filmed on the High Line.
And then there are the kids. Walking on the High Line is a family activity, so there’s no shortage of youngsters eager to get their first views through contraptions that are sometimes larger than they. Their enthusiasm is contagious; and who knows – we may start some nine-year-old on the path to a Nobel Prize.
The High Line is a great place for stargazing, and a great place to see the world. We begin again on the first Tuesday of next April. Come join us!