Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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April's topic for NASA's Year of the Solar System (YSS) Water, Water Everywhere: Celebrating Earth Day!


Planetary scientists once thought Earth was an oasis in a dry solar system, as early missions to our neighbors revealed desert-like conditions on the Moon, Mars, and Mercury. Missions in recent years have overturned this view, returning mounting evidence of ample water from a vast array of locations.

Comets from the remote corners of our solar system are made of water and other ices. Orbiters, landers, and rovers reveal Mars as a watery world in the distant past - a world that today may contain entire underground oceans of frozen water.  The Moon, once thought dry-as-a-bone, has a water cycle-with small amounts of water moving across its surface-and voluminous quantities of water ice locked into frozen crater floors at its poles. Rings of ice orbit the gas giants, and several moons of these distant worlds have immense oceans of liquid water beneath their frozen crusts. Even Mercury has ice in the dark craters at its poles, as revealed by the ongoing MESSENGER mission.

Water is critical to life and to future human forays into space. While we now know that Earth is not the only place with water, it is the only oasis that contains life. As we celebrate Earth Day 2011, we should remember to take care of our water resources on our home planet, even as we are discovering water almost everywhere in our solar system!

Join us this month as we celebrate Earth Day ( http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011 )! Share with NASA how you and your family help our planet ( http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/earthday/ ).  And don’t forget to join the world space party and celebrate Yuri’s Night ( http://www.yurisnight.net/ ), with marks the first time a human orbited Earth.

Visit the YSS website ( http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/display.cfm?Year=2011&Month=4 ) to find activities for classroom and informal learning environments, night-sky viewing events and mission milestones, recommended resources, and downloadable materials connected to this month’s theme of Water, Water Everywhere !  

A “Tweetable” announcement in 140 characters or less:

NASA Year of the Solar System April Topic: Water, Water Everywhere: Celebrate Earth Day! http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss #nasayss

Link to YSS from Your Website

Promote the Year of the Solar System on your website using an embedded widget to display the YSS graphic and link to the YSS website. Go to http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/embed.cfm for the widget.

You can find other YSS graphics at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov//yss/display.cfm?Year=2010&Month=12&Tab=Downloads .


YSS Friends and Partners page is now live on the YSS site ( http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/partners.cfm )!  Let us know if you want to share YSS and be listed as a YSS Friend and Partner!

Get Involved! Share Your YSS Events and Stories


Advertise your YSS Events on the YSS Calendar. Share your YSS stories through the YSS story space, and Flickr and YouTube.

Get Social with YSS

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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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