On February 2, 2003 Margaret C. Woodson Planetarium Director and Space Science Specialist Patsy Wilson coordinated a long overdue hands-on “Telescope Clinic” with the Astronomical Society of Rowan County at the Horizons Unlimited Facility in Salisbury. Veteran amateur astronomers Tom Davis, Ralph Deal, Mark Smith, and Herb Goodman demonstrated the “how-to’s” using the attendees own telescopes.
Realizing many people receive telescopes as gifts yet have little knowledge of how to properly use them, we decided to ask the public to bring those scopes to the clinic so we could show them how to assemble, use, and take care of their own piece of scientific equipment.
Mark Smith, a member of the Piedmont Amateur Astronomers, traveled all the way from Statesville to assist us. Marks 8″ inch Dobsonian style Newtonian Reflector equipped with a solar filter offered awesome, yet safe views of the sun. For many, this was their first chance to see the sun through a telescope,and when told the dark spots that blemished the suns surface were as large as or even larger then our planet, people were awestruck.
Participants were also treated to a wonderful planetarium program presented by Patsy Wilson of Horizons Unlimited. Tom Davis of Salisbury displayed a gallery of astrophotography he took from his home here in Rowan County. The gallery remained on display until the end of that school year.