Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Up in the sky on the 2nd and 5th.
September 7, 2009

An amazing week it was for stargazing. On Sepetmber 2nd, the skies were clear, and we had a turnout over the evening of about 80 people show up to our event over eth course of the night. With the full moon overhead, and Jupiter easily visible, we gathered at the baseball diamonds to the delight of lots of kids. They were running all over the field, and being good kids. We also had 5 scopes and binocs out there. Mitch Stevens brought his 6″, Tamora brought a Galileoscope, Chris brought a good pair of binoculars, and Rob was out there too with a goodly gear of binoculars. Everyone got a chance to learn constellations from each other. As the evening went on, it was clear that we would have a special treat: the disappearance of Jupiter’s moons from view. With two behind and two in front, we stayed out until well afte midnight to watch them go into eclipse. Of the 80 or so people, about 6 stayed to take in the celestial event. Lori even got a pic of it through the scope with her blackberry. While the focus is not great, you can still see that we don’t have moons! In general, the skies were cloudless and clear. One of the best nights we have had all year.

On the 5th, we were at the top of the hill until quite late, and the full moon again graced our skies. But we had a bunch of clouds early on that hampered our view, but not our spirits. The evening held about 40 people who came all the way up to the top. The ywere rewarded with brilliant views of Jupiter’s moons, binary stars and clusters. We had some great kids up there. Mitch made the big trek with his scope to the top, as did I. We are getting the hang of this thing. Perhaps one day we will have a golf cart….



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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