During the month of July, AES Seaside Cinema, Redondo Beach and AES Summer Movie Nights, Huntington Beach, successfully hosted a series of free outdoor family-oriented movie nights for the Los Angeles and Orange County beach communities in Southern California. There were plenty of free giveaways, special guests, costume contest for kids and thousands of people in attendance. Using green technology with energy supplied by the Sun, fun-filled movies such as The Sandlot, Bee Movie, Grease and Megamind were projected onto a huge portable, inflatable screen for the public to enjoy. Solar powered movie screenings may just be starting out, but it is a great new trend that helps promote public awareness of alternative energy that is helpful for the environment and available today.
Celestron was once again invited to participate at AES Seaside Cinema by figure skating World Champion, Scott Williams and film producer, Tom Kearney to help conduct star parties and sponsor the big raffle prize drawings on July 29th in Redondo Beach and July 30th in Huntington Beach. Celestron donated several Traveler binoculars, 50th Anniversary FirstScopes and 80LCM telescopes as prizes. All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales, along with AES's contribution (they matched dollar for dollar ticket sales revenue), went to benefit two worthwhile causes: Redondo Beach Educational Foundation and Project Self Sufficiency Foundation.
Celestron's Production Artist, Christy Ziemer; Firmware Engineer, Derik DeVecchio, aka "Professor O" from Celestron's Orange Lab video series; and Art Director, Joe Kinsey, were on hand to share their astronomy and telescope knowledge with all the guests. Although there were a few low clouds at the Redondo Beach event, the sky was perfectly clear the following evening in Huntington Beach. At each location, hundreds and hundreds of guests, especially the kids, lined up for a fascinating look at our beautiful and mysterious universe through our telescopes. Saturn tantalized everyone with its magnificent rings and at least two of its moons. For many, it was their very first time to see Saturn's rings through a telescope, and Saturn did not disappoint. "Wow, it doesn't seem real," said one parent, while her daughter yelled out "That's so cool!" We know the positive experiences will be embedded in people's minds for a lifetime – just like it has been for all of us. Other fascinating celestial objects we viewed included: double stars Albireo and Mizar; globular clusters M3 and M13; and planetary nebula, M57.
The annual summertime AES Seaside Cinema and AES Summer Movie Nights were great ways to provide entertainment for local communities, while raising money for charitable causes. Celestron was thrilled to be a part of these events, and we will continue to support events like these and help bring the wonders of the universe a bit closer for everyone to enjoy.