The 380 number is maybe not even accurate, it's just how many times I pushed the button, and I know that whole groups of people came and went before I noticed. We were so busy!
On our way to Munich, some great fellows at Astroshop.eu reached out to us and asked: do you need any help with your sidewalk astronomy event? We decide to take a train out to their headquarters in Landsberg, to take a look at their showroom.
After browsing around a room full of high-end equipment, we eventually settle on an enormous 12" Dobsonian telescope to borrow for the weekend. "Dobsonians" are named after the Vedantu monk who invented sidewalk astronomy in California. Elias, from Astroshop, also joined us for the evening.
We shared a calm, quiet dinner together before taking the S-bahn to Marienplatz.
Marienplatz on a Friday night is teeming with hundreds of people. The crescent moon hangs high in the sky, even before twilight at 8 pm. As soon as the Dobsonian touches the ground, a group of people comes over and asks what we're doing. It's the same thing we do every night. "Would you like to see the moon up close?"
We set to work. Lines begin to form. Dozens of people wait to see, even though it's only three of us for two telescopes. I ask Elias how he's holding up, and actually part of his job is to demo these telescopes, so he's dealt with crowds like this before.
Brendan announces to the crowd: "The year is 1610, and Galileo just finished tuning up one of his new telescopes. It's a clear night, and he points it at the moon... you're about to see what Galileo saw 400 years ago."
Munich has a very active astronomy scene. Close to the alps, you can access some of the darkest skies in all of Europe. The city itself, though nearly the size of Philadelphia, has excellent light pollution practices in place. You can see the constellations from Marienplatz. A group of astronomers from Volkssternwarte also reached out to us, and some of them drop by to see what we're doing. A few even linger to help share the astronomy and pilot the telescopes!
Jupiter rises in time for the moon to set, and in total, seven hours pass before we finally decide to bring the telescopes home.