A First Encounter with First Encounter Beach

We go to Wellfleet on Cape Cod every August. While there, I often set up the telescope at Wellfleet harbor and Newcomb Hollow beach. This year, after a daytime reconnaissance, I decided to try First Encounter Beach in Eastham. The sky was wonderfully open in all directions, which meant that I could catch anything interesting that was rising, transiting, or setting.

The evening began with Venus, a blue-white jewel in the west. I asked the people waiting in line to keep watch low in the east: Saturn and Jupiter would be rising at any moment.

Then came a shout, “I see a star!” And there was Saturn, clawing its way out of the murk on the horizon. I turned the telescope to Saturn, whose rings always delight and amaze, and then kept watch for Jupiter. The king of the planets soon appeared, shining through the hazy clouds, as captured in a photo below.

As people left the beach and headed to their cars, many stopped by to look. It was a fun evening and I’ll definitely be returning to First Encounter.

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