Transit in the Park

By Parker Bossier

Here’s my flickr album from the transit: Also see the .gif I made of a skyscraper eclipsing the transit:

I moved to the Upper West Side from San Francisco in August, and this was my first astronomy-related outing in NYC. I initially planned on going to Pier 1 on the Hudson, but I saw on the AAA website that there was an official contingent at Columbus Circle. I got there at around 8:30 a.m. and looked around for astronomy-looking people. Seeing none, I ventured into the park to find a suitable place to set up. My prediction of the sun’s path was poor, so I had to move a few times. I left around 1:00 p.m. after a second skyscraper eclipse. Until Jessica Santascoy walked over, I didn’t see any other members. I heard some passersby saying there was another person set up with a scope, but I’m unsure if this was Jessica.

Over the course of the day, around 30-50 people stopped by. Lots knew about the event from the news or the AAA website, a few declined my offer to observe (!!!), and many were interested after I offered them the eyepiece and info about what was happening. There were lots of kids who came by as well. Some definitely didn’t fully understand what they were looking at, but others were studying this in school and were able to ask pertinent questions. Lots of pictures were taken to bring to school the next day. Lots of NY natives, lots of tourists, and lots of runners! Many runners stopped by while a skyscraper was in the way, and they came back on their next lap to see the event.

A man from (I think) ABC came by and tried multiple times to resolve Mercury, but his eyesight just couldn’t get it. I took some photos with my attached camera and zoomed in for him to take smartphone photos of (this was actually surprisingly common). After asking tons of questions, he said he worked on the recent Apollo documentary, which was a wonderful thing for me. I’ve consumed far too much content about space things. I was very impressed to have made his acquaintance! I wish I remembered his name.

Clear skies, all!