In 2002 my friend Paul Trudel and I were involved in the International Year of Astronomy Cornerstone Project, 100 Hours of Astronomy. For this event people could register public observing events on a central website for observing events to be held during the 100 hours so people looking for events could find them, and we could track how many events there were in total. Paul and I built (him) and managed (me) the website for the initiative. From 10-13 January of 2019, a new 100 Hours of Astronomy event took place as part of the IAU 100 celebrations. This project was a 100-hour, round-the-clock, round-the-globe celebration composed of a broad range of activities aimed at involving the public. The project was a strong success, as more than 1200 astronomy activities took place across 86 countries worldwide throughout this 100 Hours of Astronomy.
Once everything was over, Mike Simmons, a California astronomer who managed the project, gave Paul and I a standing invite to come down to California and he’d arrange a full slate of bucket list-level astronomy activities for us. We attended star parties in the desert, toured JPL with a mission scientist, attended private house parties with members of the Planetary Society, and got an in depth tour of the Palomar observatory. As a lifelong enthusiast of the 200″ at Palomar this was indeed a bucket list item. Now, in 2022, time to make a permanent record of the day for posterity 🙂
We were staying in Pasadena so it was a 2 1/2 hour drive southeast to get to the Observatory.
We arrived at the observatory and took Mike’s advice “There’s a fork in the road. Regular people take a left to the public exhibit. You want to take a right.”
Clearly we were on the right road.