The youngest attendee getting her first
look at the Moon through a telescope
The first target of the evening was the planet Venus that was starting to dip down towards the west just after twilight. Insight staff member, Harry Hammond was manning the library's 8" Dobsonian telescope (which is available for checkout for those who have a Cotuit Library card) and I had the controls of Insight Observatory's 10" Dobsonian telescope. When our guests were viewing the planet, they would shout out with tones of astonishment "It looks like it has a phase like "the moon". We only see a little over half of it".
We then moved on to Jupiter, about 20 degrees east of Venus. I figured that the excitement of seeing 4 of the giant planet's moons was going to be the highlight of viewing this planet, however, it was the equatorial cloud belts that the observers could see on the planet's disk is what amazed them most.
Then there was the bright gibbous moon farther east from Jupiter that was waiting to be viewed by everyone. The "Wow Factor" here was wonderful! The observers could not believe the detail they were seeing on the lunar surface. Two of the Moon's most prominent craters, Copernicus and Clavius stood out very prominently.
Now for the grand finally, Saturn had just risen above the trees toward the east, so we guided both telescopes toward the ringed planet and because Saturn had recently reached opposition, the view was spectacular with Cassini's division obviously visible separating the rings. One observer said, "I thought I would never see the rings of Saturn in my lifetime, thank you!"