Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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August 19 Surprise
August 20, 2008

well, now it is getting decidedly neighborhood-y. We had about 45 people and many returning fellows. It was actually a much clearer night than I had anticipated. We stared mostly at Jupiter and the waning gibbous moon. But then very late, the Andromeda Galaxy popped up over the trees. Undaunted by the street lights, we shot for it, and amazingly, there it was. Quite clear and with M32 in the same field easily seen. Just amazing.

One more thing. Right about 11:30 Pm, we saw a large meteor dash acros the sky. It was righter than Jupiter and went through Pegasus and towards Perseus. A possible big meteor just for me, since I didn't see any big ones on the night I led up into the park. Very cool.

As I prepare for the IYA events, it is becoming evident that the NYC skies are far better than people think. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say they rival what I saw back in New Mexico and Wyoming, but given the fact that it's the Bright Lights Big City city, and there above us in the steady summer skies were some fine night-sky objects.

Now, if someone has an idea about how to get power into the park for the slide shows....

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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