Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Nighttime in Inwood Hill Park
June 22, 2008

I went out last night into our Park at about 10pm. It was filled with people, and they were all doing kid stuff in the evening. Getting a beer, chasing each other around. Normal normal normal. Then there was me. I was wandering around with the 6" telescope. The baseball diamond was not great. Too many lights, and they were above me. I was not worried about showing others the sky, I wanted to do a number of test runs, this being one, of how to negotiate the night sky and get to know it before I try to impress others with my knowledge...

Anyway, I found I had to go to the top of the hill. And LO! there was a great thing up there. The trees are thick and full, but at the clearing on the top of the hill, all they do is serve to block every single street light. Summertime up there is FANTASTIC. Now I just have to wait for a night that does not have so much humidity that you can swim in it. That makes a lot of sky brightness.

Even still, I was able to clearly see M57 in the 6". It made me wonder if I cold get M101, which was also high in the sky and to the East. Well, I think I need a laser pointer on the scope. That way I can really see where I am pointing. It might be a complete need in these parts. I could not even convince myself that I thought I found it.

Oh well. Double stars look cool too.

About Jason Kendall

I am currently adjunct faculty at William Paterson University teaching astronomy. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. I am also a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Since 2008, I have led the Inwood Astronomy Project which brought over 200 events of stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan, including the historic Inwood Star Fest, where Inwood Hill Park lights were turned off as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event in IYA2009. This was the first time in New York City history when park lights were turned off for an astronomy event. I've also focused on park safety due to an uptick in sexual assaults in Washington Heights and Inwood during 2011. I've worked to make our parks safer by encouraging public use of parks at night through night-time events with Park Rangers. I have led numerous "starwatching parties" and astronomy events in New York City, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. I am also proud to have been part of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program from 2009 to 2012. It all started way back in the fourth grade by the encouragement of two noted astronomers, Charles Schweighauser and Bart Bok. I saw Saturn through Charlie's telescope at then Sangamon State University on a clear Illinois night, and Bart encouraged me under those stars to study hard to come visit him at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I finally did make it down there about a decade after Bart passed away, and I found the favorite spots in Tucson, Arizona, where Bart and his wife Priscilla would spend when they were not gazing at the stars. Bart and his wife were pioneers in the study of the Milky Way, and their studies of the starforming regions called Bok Globules. It's even in my family. My great-grandfather was a Midwestern minister who used to preach his sermons out under the dark, cloudless nights. He always believed that getting out and experiencing the wonders of the natural world was a central part of being human. My family has always been inspired by his words: "We look up to look within." I hope that you'll join me under the stars or at one of my talks.

Come see what's up in the sky!

Jason Kendall

We look up to look within

William Paterson University Department of Physics American Astronomical Society Astronomical Society of the Pacific Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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