Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Fort Tryon Stargazing "First Light" Soiree
March 10, 2010

March 10: Fort Tryon Stargazing "First Light" Soiree
A NASA/JPL Solar System Ambasador Event

Stargazing returns to Fort Tryon Park in 2010 with the "First Light" Soiree - NYCParks' celebration of the debut of my Obsession 15" UC telescope. The Obsession will be the largest amateur scope available for free use by the public. Join me for a fascinating evening of star and planet gazing.

Update on March 11: it was cloudy that night, but we still had good attendance. About 12 people showed up, and about 50 calls to the hotline with a large website hit presence. We will try again on April 14, and Jennifer Hoppa thinks we can turn off the lights by the flagpole to give us a bit of a better location up there. Will need to reconnoiter it in the evening sometime to make sure that it works out. It was good to see Lorraine, Rainbow, and Heather there too. Good to have returnees and other new faces. Best of all were a couple of college students who learned about it from Village Voice, who will return uptown for stargazing later. It's good to get new peopel interested. I chatted a bit about the beginnings of the telescope, and played a Galileo game by showing the magnification of the bridge using the Galileoscope. Always a bit of fun.

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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