Gerry Descoteaux is a New Hampshire astronomy fan I have known for 26 years – although I’m not sure we’ve ever actually met in person, come to think of it. I was an editor at the Nashua Telegraph when he started writing his monthly Lawnchair Astronomer column in 1990, telling folks about things to look for in the night sky, and he’s still churning them out. He has even put his advice on backyard sky-watching into a book.

Gerry just filed his August column. He talks, as you might suspect, about the Aug. 21 eclipse, which will be about 75% totality in New Hampshire, and indulges in a bit of reminiscence:

In May of 1994 I remember hosting an event here in New Hampshire and being overwhelmed by the crowd size.  There was a line out across the park of people waiting to get a glimpse of the eclipse through “Big Red”, the 13.1 inch, six foot tall light bucket (telescope) I had provided for the event.  From the first vestiges as the moon began “eating” away at the sun until it had gone through totality and eventually revealed its temporary nature, upwards of several hundred people had gotten to see it via the safely filtered device.

He also alerts us to the Perseid meteor shower, one of the years’ best (and one you can watch without freezing – funny how most of them seem to peak in winter).

Check it out on his website (right here). It has a charmingly retro look which is due, I suspect, to lack of updates rather than a search for hipster cred.

Aside from the column, note a sidbar that describes why telescopes are usually a bad gift idea.

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