Washington column for Nov. 15

Winter chill ushers in clear skies for Dark Sky event

According to Torney Van Acker, about 20 people defied the frigid temperatures at Rappahannock County Park for the last ‘dark sky’ event of the year this past Saturday Nov. 10. Locally-produced hot cider and homemade cookies were on hand to cheer the participants during the event, sponsored by the park and the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP). The evening’s activities included a presentation, two video clips and sky observations with three telescopes.

The M13 globular cluster with its billions of densely packed stars Photo by NASA

James Granahan from the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) shared an interesting presentation about spacecraft from various countries that have deployed rovers on the surface of Mars since 1976. It was followed by an exciting video clip on the complicated landing sequence for the United States’ Insight rover due to set down on Mars this Nov. 26. The second video clip, “Losing the Dark,” was provided by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). It showed how the recent growth of poorly-designed artificial lighting has adversely impacted human and animal living conditions as well as our ability to view the stars.

A big thank you to James Granahan, and Rappahannock’s own Lyt Wood and Torney for the use of their telescopes. Participants gathered around to get glimpses of the setting crescent moon with its sunlit craters marking the terminator between the lunar day and night. After the moon set, telescopes were repointed to give stunning views of Mars, Saturn with its glorious rings, the Andromeda galaxy (the only non-star object you can see with the naked eye), the M13 globular cluster with its billions of stars, the Albireo double star (one golden color, the other blue) and the distant Dumbbell planetary nebula.

CCLC news

The Pre-K class at Child Care Learning Center, celebrated Election Day in several big ways. The students voted for their favorite Thanksgiving dinner and dessert foods using paper ballots. Photo by Elvira Yanez

November is a month to celebrate all things we are thankful for, from Election Day to Thanksgiving!

According to Sue Garvin, the Pre-K class at CCLC celebrated Election Day in several big ways. The students voted for their favorite Thanksgiving dinner and dessert foods using paper ballots. Turkey was a strong winner in the dinner race, followed by stuffing and cranberries. Mashed potatoes and gravy failed to get a single vote! Ice cream handily beat pumpkin pie and brownies as the favorite dessert.

The children also worked together on a large whiteboard to create a turkey with all the necessary parts. Each child took a turn to identify and add a body part that their turkey needed. The first pieces drawn were a head and body. Fortunately, someone connected the head and body with a neck! Wings, legs, feet, eyes, beak and beard all made their appearance. Finally, each child had the opportunity to add their favorite-color tail feathers.

Thanksgiving service

Continuing a long-established tradition, this year’s Community Thanksgiving Service will take place in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on North Main Street in Little Washington on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, Nov. 22, at 10 a.m.

Sponsored by the Rappahannock Clergy Association, the service will include participation by clergy from the roughly dozen congregations represented by the RCA. Rev. Dr. Gary Aichele will offer a pastoral reflection on what it really means to “give thanks,” and Wendy Aichele, Minister of Music at Washington Baptist Church, will once again provide service music and lead this year’s Thanksgiving Community Choir. Typically lasting 45-minute, this service provides a great way “to gather together” with friends and neighbors “to ask the Lord’s blessing” for the coming year, and to remember why we take time each November to celebrate a day of national thanksgiving. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

On Sunday morning, Nov. 25, the Washington Baptist Church Choir under the direction of Wendy Aichele will present its own “Thanksgiving” offering during morning worship at 11 in the Sanctuary of Washington Baptist Church, 180 Gay Street.

Similar to the traditional Christmas “Service of Lessons and Carols,” the program — “Morning Psalm: A Service of Sacred Songs” — will consist of selected readings from the Book of Psalms followed by choral responses — several of which will be accompanied by violinist Angela Snyder.

Choral selections for full choir and smaller ensembles by such noted contemporary Christian composers as Joseph Martin, Don Besig, Patti Brennan and Jay Althouse will provide a rich sampling of some of the best sacred choral music of the past 25 years.

A service you won’t want to miss, “Morning Psalm: A Sacred Service of Song” provides a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to experience what promises to be a very special and meaningful Sunday worship service. All are welcome.

Lost iPhone

My friend lost her iPhone 7, with a dull red cover in the Town of Washington, sometime on Sunday afternoon between 2:45 and 4, during the Nol Putnam film screening? If anyone has found the phone, please bring it to the Rappahannock News.

Have a wonderful week.