Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Night 17 of 100: March 23rd
March 23, 2009

As we can all see, it is clear out.  I will be at the usual place at Seaman and Isham at about 8;30PM.  Come on out and join me, and see the skies through a telescope.  Saturn is very pretty right now. http://www.inwoodastronomy.org for a map. ---On other news, here is the breakdown on the 100 Hours of Astronomy project.
The "Lights Out in Dyckman Fields" now needs your help.  I am shooting to get the lights turned off in the Dyckman Fields for the entire night on April 3 or 4.  Think about it: A New York City Park, in Manhattan with NO lights at ALL, just for us observers and the interested public.
The Parks wants to do it, but internal funding was not available after a month of searching.  Now we need to raise $3000 to pay for an electrician, a few parks security staff, and the presence of a couple of Rangers.  I am NOT asking you for money.  The best thing to do is the following:Call up the following New York State Assemblymembers' Offices: Linda Rosenthal, Adriano Espaillat, and Herman D. Farrell, Jr.  and ask them to help find discretionary funding for the event.  Their contact information is at the bottom of this website or better, here are their phone numbers: Assm. Farrell: 212-568-2828, Assm. Espaillat: 212-544-2278, Assm. Rosenthal: 212-873-6368. Here is all you have to say to their secretary: Secretary: "Hello, Assemblymember X's office, how may I direct your call?" You: "Hi, my name is J. Astro, and I want to ask Assemblymember X to support the Lights Out in Dyckman Fields.  The project trying to findfunding to be done on April 3.  The amount is small, only $3000, to pay for staffing to do the event.  The NYC Parks Department has approved it, and is enthusiastic about doing the event, but has had trouble finding funding.  I thought that Assemblymember X would have that in their discretionary funding to help support safe park use at night, science education in my community, and show what you get if light pollution abatement legislation goes through upstate; a clear, starry sky." Secretary: "Thanks, I will relay the message.  What is your name and address so that Assemblymember X can get in contact with you if needed?" You: "I live at 555 Maple Road, New York City." OR You: "I live outside the Assemblymember's district, but I hope to participate in the event and show my support." Secretary; "Thank you.  I will relate the message." You: "Thanks!" It is as simple as that.  If we get everyone on this list to make these three calls, then we will get some serious traction.  Assemblymember Rosenthal needs to know that there is public support for her light-pollution abatement legislation, and this provides a great forum for her.

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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