Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Lights Out in Dyckman Fields UPDATE: Feb 19.
February 19, 2009

Hello friends and lurkers!

I have a bunch of exciting news and a call out to lend me a hand.

The pitch to get the Lights Out in Dyckman Fields for the 100 Hours of Astronomy is starting to roll. But to get this amazing feat done, we all need to take a small action. Here is the background.

I proposed to the Parks department that we use April 3 and 4 for dark-sky observing in the Dyckman Fields. (Visit this web page to see the location:http://www.moonbeam.net/InwoodAstronomy/events-100hours.shtml) But things always move slowly in any government entity, no matter what you do.

But then lightning struck. I am the subject of a soon-to-be-published New York Times article (hopefully it will still go through, most likely this weekend.) which talks about my efforts to get the lights turned out in this field for the 100 Hours. Anyway, the reporter hopes that the publicity will help the cause and the effort. But even better, I was contacted today by an staffer of New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. She is pushing a series of light pollution measures upstate, and her office is interested in our effort.

So, here is what I would like you to do:

Please write a letter TODAY to her, or to your NYS Assemblymember, in support of this effort.

Here is a sample letter for you to print out and mail.


Dear Assemblymember Rosenthal,

Thank you for your support of light pollution initiatives. I agree that light pollution wastes money that can be better spent anywhere else in any budget. To highlight the benefits of reducing light pollution, I hope that you will help Jason Kendall and the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York in their efforts to have .Lights Out In Dyckman Fields. on April 3 and 4 of this year. We need your support to help push it through.

We respect and acknowledge the obvious security concerns, but if we can shut down the entire City for a marathon, then we can easily turn off all of the lights in one park that has no adjacent residences or businesses for just one night.

If we do this, New York City will take the national and even international stage in The 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Star Party. Hundreds of other cities worldwide are holding star parties in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, and New York needs an official presence in this truly international effort.

It is important to show the world that the great state of New York supports learning science, going green, and saving huge amounts of taxpayer money with properly shielded lights.

It takes just a few minutes on Google to see the immense scope of the International Year Of Astronomy, its potential for inspiring citizens with the desire to learn more about the universe and to contribute to their communities. All the efforts of the .IYA. have strong community components in addition to learning about space, so supporting the .IYA. and taking part in the 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Star Party in April is a win-win all around.

Jason Kendall's Inwood Astronomy Project is a volunteer effort that I support because it makes my parks safer, provides family-friendly activities, and shows that science can be fun. He and his fellow amateur astronomers go out every week on nearly every clear night into our parks and teach our kids and friends about the stars and planets. Please see his website at http://www.inwoodastronomy.org to contact Jason or contact the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York ( http://www.aaa.org , Rich Rosenberg, President: president { AT } aaa.org ) for more information about this effort.

It is fantastic that you support light pollution abatement. Please help us take the extra step to show off the night sky to so many New Yorkers who have never seen a starry night. We know that it is .Bright Lights, Big City. and some of the most brilliant and wondrous lights are just waiting for us to just turn off the lights.


Joe and Mary Astro


Here is Ms. Rosenthal's site: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=067

You can also call her up and read this message above into the answering machine.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help us out and please forward this email to as many people as you can. If we can do this, it will be an amazing day in New York. But I just need you to help me get it rolling!

Jason Kendall

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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