Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Stargazing report from January 16.
January 17, 2010

Last night was a good night, even considering the bad weather that tried to stop us. It started with an effort to go up to the hilltop, but then the clouds veered north, bringing rain up from the Gulf. So, in the last hour, I changed the location to the baseball diamonds. I had to ma ke a big run down te the Hilltop entrance to steer people the right way, but off I went.

I got to the diamonds at about 7:30 on the dot, and Shane and David were leading the change out to the fields. After leaving a sign at the entrance for passersby, we went in and set up. The skies were not really clear, and steadily getting worse, but we had a mission to observe Mars at its brightest and biggest. So, out we went. It quickly became clear that this was a big deal. Over the course of the evening, we had about 30 people show up. Most were just walking by and thought that stargazing might be a good idea. Mars was good, and bright in the telescope, and it is becoming clear, that I need to start setting up earlier to get better views through the telescope. The warm scope just is too jumpy. However, we were able to see the polar ice cap, as a brightening on the northern limb, though not a prominently as last week. M42 wowed the crowd, as well as the Double Cluster of Perseus. We had a number of returnees, and we had a good night before theclouds rolled in at 9pm. The hilltop owuld have been extremely disappointing, so we were glad to have had this opportunity.

I really need to bring out the two Galileoscopes for people to try out. That would be a great thing. I’ll construct them and get them ready for next week. People can try them out on their own for fun, and to see what it looks like as they hunt for things on their own.

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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