Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Night 38 of 100 Nights! July 8
July 8, 2009

It seems like it really will be clear out tonight. Come join us at the baseball diamonds for a nice evening. To see Saturn before it sets, please do come out a bit early, because the Old Man of the Sky will set behind the trees at about 9:30.

I missed talking about our past endeavors. On June 29, there was a nice evening with just a few folks outdoors under the stars. I just went out under the nice sky. A couple of neighbors came by, as well as a few that had never seen through a telescope.

On July 4, we had a grand old time. In addition to the 30 or so people that showed up over the evening, we had a gaggle of astronomers with scopes and binoculars. With two more members from the AAA joining me (Howard Fink and Joe Delfause). The clouds were a bit relentless, but the company was excellent. And the sounds of the Fourth of July reverberated through the hills. We could see some going off across the river, and the evening began with the whole crowd out on the ledge looking at the exquisite sunset. There was a helpful girl and her father who helped pass out skycharts. Old friend Lynn Elson came pu to take it in. Connie Vasquez joined the crew. We had many newbies, and curious onlookers.

I only wished that the clouds were better. Amazingly enough, there were no crime or danger issues. Rob and I stayed out until about 1:30AM. At that time a trio of gang kids swam by, enjoying the park in their way. They were well-read, and we had the best view of the night: Jupiter popped up through the trees in the East, giving us all a good view just at the end.

It took a bit of time to get home, and I am learning the value of cases and bungee cords. My whole setup could use more padding and more portability. Transporting about 80 pounds of stuff up and down those hills over a mile or so, then finishing with a five-flight walkup makes for a daunting evening.

It would be nice to have a bit of a crew to help me out permanently. I imagine there is beer money in there for a crew….

I hope to see you tonight! The sky is an azure blue, and fellow NASA/JPL Solar system Ambasador Laura Venner gave me quite a bit of new stuff to give out.

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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