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Mars Stargazing Parties... on the evenings of August 26th and 27th the Eastside Astronomical Society hosted two Mars stargazing parties, celebrating this year's close encounter with the Red Planet. This event was free and entirely supported by several generous volunteers who happily shared their telescopes and provided assistance to a very large number of visitors.

Seen here, long time member and stargazing expert Judy Mason explains the current spacecraft missions to Mars to several interested onlookers.

Judy and her family also assumed the role of answering countless phone inquiries on the days leading up to and during the event, providing encouragement for many newcomers interested in seeing Mars.

With so much attention on this event, even the local media showed an interest. It was just wonderful to see so many people get turned on to exploring astronomy!

In this image, EAS board member and astronomy authority Maia Pereyda is interviewed by Channel King5's Austin Jenkins, showing enthusiasm and hope to get a good view of Mars through the clouds on the evening of the 26th.

In addition to tirelessly sharing her telescope with visitors, Maia handled all of the background work to make sure the park was available for all of us to enjoy this event.

Some visitors on the 26th became concerned that with all the clouds they would be unable to see Mars.

Here, always "philosophical" and longtime EAS board member Ellis Corets, also interviewed by Channel 5, explains that there are many opportunities over the next few weeks to see Mars with a similar apparent size, and not just on the evening of the close approach.

Ellis moved through the crowd on both evenings, introducing many visitors to our organization. He also handed out brochures until our supply finally ran out.

In this photo EAS president Scott McElhone is being interviewed by the FOX Q13 Morning News (on August 27th). It was all just too much fun, and a great opportunity to give folks advise on how to view Mars, as well as what makes it an object of such great curiosity.

Channel 13 had contacted EAS on the evening of the 26th and spoke with Judy Mason, asking to interview an "Astronomer" from our group. Instead, they got an "Amateur Astronomer", albeit a very enthusiastic one.

Over the two nights of EAS Mars parties, some 600-700 Mars watchers turned out, most of whom experienced seeing Mars in a telescope for the very first time.

In this photo, EAS board member Paula Clark (far right) is all ready for visitors to see Mars in her new telescope. Paula's excitement was, as always, continuous and contagious.

Other EAS members who contributed a great deal of time and patience, while sharing their telescopes with the crowds on both evenings, were Dale Martin, Akira Hunt, Ron Tam, and Dave Anderson.

So many others contributed so much as well. Special thanks goes out to Tom Danielsen for his help with the EAS scope, as well as some artful "crowd control". And also a very special thanks to Dale Martin for getting our new club telescope ready for this event.

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- We of the EAS helped bring Mars
a little closer to our community.
Great thanks and congratulations
are due to all of us!