We traveled through a lot of states this month! It’s been a whirlwind of driving and experiences!
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Our first stop was in Erie, Pennsylvania. We had a great time taking pictures of the amazing views we saw.
We even saw a crazy storm blow by within an hour! We’re glad we had the camera ready!
We stayed at West Haven RV Campground. We became friends with the owners, Jodie and Don West, when Unistellar on the Road was in its testing phase earlier this year. In an amazing coincidence, they both grew up in our hometown of Bethesda, Maryland, and Jodie even grew up one street away from where Val did! We exchanged lots of stories about where we grew up and how things in that area had changed over the years.
At their request, we brought them some crabs from Maryland. We kept them in the shower for the long drive!
Jodie and Don graciously hosted our demo at their campground, and even put up an awesome sign!
We scheduled the demo for two days, but unfortunately the first day was cancelled due to rain. The second day went great though, and a lot of people came out to see the eVscope!
We were really sad to leave Erie, Pennsylvania! We miss Jodie and Don already!
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Our next stop was in Adirondack, New York. It was a rough ride through the Adirondack mountains, but there were spectacular views. We even managed to get stung by yellow jackets, when we walked onto their nest by accident! Don’t worry, we made it out alive, somehow! Also, we’ve never seen so many chipmunks in our lives! They were everywhere, and Val was able to get some amazing close-ups of them. They weren’t afraid of people at all!
Our demo in Adirondack was at a beautiful scenic overlook:
Dr. Seth Major, chair of the Physics department at Hamilton, as well as his family came out to the demo! We showed them galaxies, nebulae, our Moon and planets in our solar system!
This was the first time we saw the Fireworks Galaxy through the eVscope, and it didn’t fail to impress! Of course, the Dumbbell Nebula didn’t either.
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Our next stop was supposed to be Maine, and we had chosen what we thought was the perfect place long in advance. It had the darkest skies of any venue that we’ve found so far. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we were informed that there had been an outbreak of COVID-19 at that very same venue! Needless to say, we turned right around and left, and we even had to cancel our demo in Bar Harbor because of new regulations imposed as a result of that same outbreak. We will definitely be coming to Maine once the COVID-19 situation improves!
Our next demo location was in Michigan… 1000 miles west from Maine! We stopped along the way at Niagara Falls, giving the eVscope a chance to meet the falls along with us and Bailey.
Along our journey west, through Ohio, the sky seemed very white for days. As the Sun set, it looked particularly strange. It turned out they were both a result of the smoke from California fires! We had no idea the smoke would be so thick all the way across the country to the east coast. There were even reports of smoke obscuring the sky from our home state of Maryland!
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Finally, we made it to Michigan! This was our very first time visiting Michigan, so it was particularly interesting. It was a lot colder there than we thought it would be!
We gave an excellent demo at an International Dark Sky Park called Dr. Lawless County Park, in Jones, Michigan. Their Bortle Class 4 skies were great for viewing the cosmos!
For some reason, our outdoor flatscreen monitor wasn’t working when we arrived. Luckily the eVscope allows other people to connect in viewer mode, so people could still safely practice social distancing while enjoying the beautiful images.
Many people come to our demo, including a number of eVscope users! One of them was Cary Mannaberg, who drove from Kalamazoo, Michigan to see us! This was the first time he traveled to this dark sky park and really enjoyed their dark skies. It was great chatting with him. He loves his eVscope and is an active citizen scientist! Although Cary has very light polluted skies (Bortle Class 8) at his home in Kalamazoo, he’s really pleased that he can see lots of deep sky objects through the light pollution with his eVscope!
Unfortunately, the leveling jacks on the Unistellar RV broke as we were leaving! They are a necessary part of the functionality of the vehicle because the room slides depend on them for stability. That means that Unistellar on the Road must take another pause for mechanical repair. We had to cancel our demos in Illinois and Kentucky, but we will be resuming the tour in Grantsville, WV for a star party at Calhoun County Park on October 13th. If you’re anywhere near West Virginia, we highly recommend this event and Calhoun County Park in general!
We’ve had a great time the past few weeks and can’t wait to meet you at our upcoming demos!
If you have any suggestions for demo locations, or if you would like to request public or private demos, please contact us!
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Follow our journey and find the latest information about upcoming demos on Unistellar on the Road. If you’re on social media, follow Unistellar and look for #ontheroad!