Tracking Jupiter and Its Four Moons with Felton Davis on East 3rd Street [PHOTOS]

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 at 6:05 am by

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Checking out Jupiter in the spring sky with Felton Davis

Seeing a tripod-mounted telescope on an East a Village sidewalk will always draw a crowd. Such is the case whenever Felton Davis wheels his rig to any neighborhood corner for some choice sidewalk stargazing. The locals love it.

Just before sundown Saturday evening, Davis assembled his shopping cart of gear outside his usual spot at The Bean on Second Avenue, acting the part of a neighborhood “Mr. Wizard.” The subject in the sky was Jupiter and its four moons (Ganymede, Io, Callisto, Europa); the class, a neverending stream of piqued passersby, from young kids and drunken woo girls to suits and tourists. Eventually the queue to view reached at least a dozen deep.

At 60x magnification, the telescope was powerful enough to provide an elementary view Jupiter, its atmospheric bands, and the accompanying moons. But that didn’t dampen the mood. Everyone was all smiles.

Yet like any good teacher, Davis engaged everyone, arriving armed with a thick stack of handouts describing the night sky. Plus, a step-stool for the kiddies to scope a view.

The makeshift astronomy class also made for some great street theater, thanks predominantly to the peanut gallery of bench-dwelling drunks crackin wise. Davis took it all in stride. We particularly enjoyed the question from some jaded New Yorkers asking whether a look through the telescope was free.

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