You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Cottrel: Sky Watch attracts crowds

Even though cloudiness caused cancellation of the first Clark County Park District’s Sky Watch, 25 determined star gazers showed up anyway.

Encouraged by the enthusiasm, the park district decided to try again on Aug. 15, and the weather cooperated.

Drew Gross, a retired Tecumseh teacher and former sponsor of the school’s astronomy club, was quite happy to be leading a Sky Watch again. He was amazed that even though the alternate date had been set without much notice, more than 40 people attended.

Throughout the evening, Gross moved from group to group, answering questions and noting significant points in the sky.

The focus that evening was the Perseid meteor shower that radiates out of the constellation Perseus.

Saturn’s rings, and the moon’s mountains and craters were visible using the astronomical binoculars and the ETX 90 mm telescope that were provided for the group’s use.

Patiently, Gross helped people find two brilliant constellations, Cassiopeia and Pegasus, and explained how to locate the Andromeda Galaxy between the two. It’s the most distant point visible without a scope.

Many of those attending the event had some connection to Tecumseh schools or his former club.

Coaches Roger and Jenny Culbertson from Tecumseh and their son were there. Once the old astronomy club members found each other in the dark, it sounded like a reunion. Park Rangers Chris Crowley and Drew Goings were both former students of Gross and had worked to arrange his return to leading the Sky Watches.

“I heard him talking on the other side of a hill when I was hiking at John Bryant last year,” said Crowley, “He recognized my voice, too, and we met on the trail and talked.”

Starting up the old Sky Watches after an 11-year break was the result.

Recognizing voices is important at a Sky Watch. I thought I didn’t know anyone there until I started talking to Gross and I heard more than one hello.

Over the evening in the dark, I ran into quite a few community members who were enjoying the pleasant weather and the opportunity to learn more about the sky.

Steve and Vicki Durall drove out from New Carlisle. I met a nice family from Northridge. Enon residents Cromer and Peggy Smith were comfortably wrapped in blankets while they watched the sky. Richard and Irene Ferriman let our granddaughters look at the craters of the moon through their telescope.

“The stars aren’t as easy to see as I remember years ago,” said Irene Ferriman.

Others I spoke to agreed with her. Atmospheric pollution and light from the cities has reduced the number of stars easily visible with the naked eye. The Milky Way is not as easy to see in this area as it once was, even on a moonless night.

Gross spoke about the clear skies out west and being able to see stars from horizon to horizon, and more than one person expressed envy of the experience.

The park district is planning two more Sky Watches this year. One will be in December for another meteor shower and the other will be a month before that in November to look at a comet.

Although it is predicted to be somewhat spectacular, it is difficult to anticipate how bright and visible a comet will be.

“Comets are notorious for underperforming,” said Gross. “It could be visible during the daytime, but I will believe it when I see it.”

So be prepared to dress warmly in November, and keep your fingers crossed for a great comet show. I’ll see you there.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Mauling victim, dog both dead in Dayton attack
Mauling victim, dog both dead in Dayton attack

We have confirmed reports the dog and the victim are both deceased.  Police are looking for a dog that attacked a person on Middle Street in Dayton. Police shot the dog, but the dog was able to escape.  Shots have been fired at the scene of a dog mauling in Dayton. Police and medics are responding to a dog mauling on Middle Street...
Heist in South America is ‘robbery of the century’
Heist in South America is ‘robbery of the century’

Authorities are calling a heist in South America the “robbery of the century” after dozens of gunmen stormed a private security firm in Paraguay, CNN reported. More than 50 people carrying large caliber weapons detonated explosives and set vehicles on fire as they stole millions of dollars and sparked a violent police chase into Brazil...
President Trump’s Hollywood star vandalized again
President Trump’s Hollywood star vandalized again

For the second time in less than six months, President Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star has been vandalized, the New York Daily News reported. In October, a 52-year-old man destroyed the star with a pickax and sledgehammer. This time, the Hollywood star was defaced with a black marker and an obscene phrase, according to a photograph...
Highs in the mid-70s today, showers coming Thursday
Highs in the mid-70s today, showers coming Thursday

Tuesday will be another nice day today with more sunshine and warmer temperatures. Warming trend continues through Wednesday Showers, maybe storms Thursday Wet weekend ahead RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts  TODAY: Highs will be in the middle 70s. A few more clouds on Tuesday compared to Monday, but overall it should be pleasant....
Ludacris’ rap of ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’ is classic
Ludacris’ rap of ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’ is classic

It’s a bedtime story full of fun llama drama, thanks to hip-hop artist Ludacris. >> Read more trending news The singer took the Anna Dewdney’s classic “Llama Llama Red Pajama” to a new level when he rapped the book’s text on Power 106’s “The Cruz Show,” the Huffington Post reported...
More Stories