Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Night 6: When We Look Up, We Look Within
February 10, 2009

So, tonight I raced home from work after swinging by B&H photo. Yesterday I bought a Celestron 8" NexStar. It is a great scope and proves to be a crowd-drawer. But tonight, I had to get a PowerTank to power up the telescope.

At 7:30 the clouds were coming in thick, as predicted. I literally had to run, or mostly just be careful quickly, since I would now be carrying an expensive new telescope down 5 flights of stairs with a trick knee after walking 7 miles on Sunday. So, I got outside, with my tank, and tripod and scope and bag of lenses. It is a goodly gear, and actually it's all righter and easier to carry than the Dobsonian 6". Not that that scope is bad, it is actually in some ways better. Dobs let you shoot at objects right there in the sky. But the 8" you need to star-align just so you can program it around.

I had not had the chance to read the manuals, so I was outside, and about 30 people came by. I had run outside without any literature or handouts or anything.

But there were LOTS of people. I was able to tell them about it. Luckily for me, the full moon was out. The 26mm eyepiece just fits the moon in one image. And I have not had the chance to learn the 12mm, which will have a REALLY tiny field of view. The 26mm looked like the 6" Dob with the 12mm eyepiece with a dark sky. I can't wait until it is clear again. This baby will GET the comet.

The moon was simply astonishing. I could become just a moonwatcher with this telescope. I might have to with all the outreach, and that is not a bad thing at all. Not even a far cry from a bad thing.

Well, so may people swung by, even two police squad cars came by. I let them know what was up, and they took a peek. It is always good to let the local constabulary know how the park is being used. They wished me well, and the evening was ours.

My father graciously purchased the telescope for me for my birthday on the 14th. So now, I need to get it engraved or get a plaque saying "Philip Kendall Observatory"

He laughed when I told him, but he responded with this:

"I remember a star studded night in the backyard of Grandfather Travis' house in Phoenix. We sat on his swing sharing the wonder of the night and Grandfather said: "We look up to look within." "

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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