Tim DeBenedictis


Contrary to both my expectations and the weather forecast, the Sun rose into a clear sky here in San Francisco, for our first fog-free morning in a week!  I set up my 5" Orion Maksutov-Cassegrain in Duboce Park, outside our apartment, equipped with a Baader AstroSolar filter, around 8:30 AM.  The park was quiet - it's the Veterans' Day holiday here - but very soon a few people stopped by.  One of them turned out to my friend Christian, who happened to be visiting from Brussels!  We spotted Mercury crossing the Sun's disk quite clearly.  Another friend, Aaron, stopped by not long after.  We spotted another telescope higher up the hill, and its operator, a man named Jeremy from the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, came down to join us.  Soon, we had a steady, continuous stream of viewers - folks out walking their dogs, heading to work, taking their kids to school, etc.  Many tried to take photos through the scope with their phones, which is surprisingly tricky.  I managed to get a video with my iPhone, and will post a picture later.  One of my favorite viewers was a woman named Dianne, who lived in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, and had tried (unsucessfully) to find a viewing event in her neighborhood.  When she arrived in Duboce Park, her first words were, "I found the nerds!"  She, Christian, Jeremy, and one other viewer named John stayed until the transit ended, just after 10 AM; we high-fived each other, then headed home.  Altogether, we probably shared the event with 30 or 40 viewers throughout the morning.  It was a great day to provide our fellow city-dwellers with an otherworldly start to the day!


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    About Me

    I'm Tim DeBenedictis. owner of Southern Stars Group, and currently (Sept 2019) the interim board chair at AWB. I've been an avid amateur astronomer and a space nut for as long as I can remember. I studied planetary science at MIT, graduating in 1993, made my way to Silicon Valley, survived the dot com boom and bust, and eventually developed the SkySafari family of iOS/Android/Mac apps which are now in use by every major telescope manufacturer on the planet. After selling SkySafari to Simulation Curriculum corp, I've worked to launch three nano-satellites into orbit, including my own (SkyCube), and an...


    Location:San Francisco, CA