Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Solar Saturdays plus a visitor..
July 26, 2008

Well today's Solar Saturdays was excellent. I gave away all my stuff I had, which was 45 items. So roughly 45 people looked at the Sun through my little Meade ETX 90. I finally started to break a bit of the culture barrier, with a number of Spanish-only speakers who showed up and hung around. I let everyone know about tonight, and even though the clouds might roll in, they are only cumulus, and the temperature is dropping, so tonight might be another Big Night.

The biggest thing that happened was at 1:02 PM. I saw a circular disk race across the face of the Sun in about 0.5 seconds. It was some Near Earth Object. I noted the time, and the speed and my Lat. and Long. and sent an email off to various places to try to identify what I saw. It must have been big, since it certainly was round and not a tumbling, oblong shape. So, i went to NASA's NEO website, the Planetary Society's website, and the Australian Space Defense website.

I am not certain if I gave enough data, and actually, I know I did not. But hopefully, someone can point me in the direction of which one it might have been.

And there are HUGE numbers of possibilities. Look here to see CFA Harvard's simulations of what is out there. That we do not get whacked all the time is amazing. But that was the early Solar System. Now it is much quieter....

I hope I learn what it was.....

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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