Jump to content


Photo

Anyone do outreach in the city?

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Daniel Guzas

Daniel Guzas

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 668
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2010
  • Loc: Bethlehem NH/ Boston MA

Posted 03 October 2012 - 10:35 PM

I have a nice park next to me here in Boston and often thought it would be great to set up and show people Saturn, the moon or even Jupiter. However like every human I have concerns about being out there with my equipment and being a victim of some unfortunate incident.

So I am wondering.... Do any of you do outreach in the city? And if so are there some tips you can give someone who is looking to " maybe" do something like this? And should I not be so paranoid?

Perhaps having my wife and 2 small dogs accompany me might be a good idea? The park is fairly well traveled and has lighting but parks and city and night usually don't go well together. In theory that is....

What do you think?

#2 waso29

waso29

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 491
  • Joined: 12 May 2010
  • Loc: Chi-Town, USA, mother earth

Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:52 PM

Urban outreach is cool.
You get to open the eyes of people from different walks of life.
I belong to a scrappy group called the Chicago Astronomers; we go around town doing outreach at different city parks.
Usually we are in contact with the local police or park security of our presence.

Having "partners in crime" definitely helps.
Check out the local astronomy group for sidewalk astronomy members.

Keep it simple your first time out as you get familiar with setting up and tear down.
Setup in a well traveled path to maximize your outreach. Fortunately, the sun, moon and large planets are pretty light pollution proof.

Check out more of our city outreach adventures by googling Chicago Astronomer.
Have fun!

#3 James Ling

James Ling

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 457
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:36 AM

Hi Daniel Guzas....

For my small little country, whereby East to West is less than 50km, and North to South is less than 30km...

And basically the whole country is a city.....

So any side walk, my friends and myself conducted in our country, is basically ina highly light polluted city, whether is beside the residence or even near to a park....

In order to have the morale to continue to do side walk, I would say most of us, need to be in a team.....
And I am just one of the team members, and as of now, after we have did the last Sunday night gazing next to a resident park, our group or team is close to 10 members....

But a few of the members, are doing it solo by themselves.....
And is not once a week, but sometimes, twice or even more.....

I only participate whenever I have the time, coz I am working oversea, and only back to my homeland every weekend.....

Attached is a photo taken this year, showing both my friend and me, setting up the scope , while behind us the queue of residents waiting to look through the scope....
And the back ground are the tall building or apartments that all these residents are living in this city.....

Regards

James Ling

Attached Files



#4 MikeBOKC

MikeBOKC

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4512
  • Joined: 10 May 2010
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:59 AM

I am sure Boston has at least one active astronomy club that does periodic urban outreach. Join up and you'll be in great company.

#5 tedbnh

tedbnh

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 819
  • Joined: 14 Nov 2007
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

Urban outreach is lots of fun. The NH Astronomical Society does it in Portsmouth, NH once a month (Saturday night closest to first quarter moon) - www.nhastro.com - come join us any time to get started. The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club does it several times a month (www.gaac.us). Contact them for details through their web site. I go out on to the Hampton Beach boardwalk many times during the summer, as I live at the beach.

The trick is to find a place where people will be walking by at night, so sidewalks near restaurants are great. Parks are not so great unless you are within 10 feet of the sidewalk, well-lit, and there are lots of people walking by.

Set up outside Mike's Pastry for example. You just need a place where the public is passing by, and you can see the moon around first quarter, and Saturn or Jupiter if they are up. That's it for urban targets, but don't worry, people will be thrilled.

Oh yeah, a sign is good, it should say 3 things:

1) Sidewalk Astronomy
2) What you are looking at
3) Public Welcome

Contact my by PM if you want more details about any of these events.

Attached Files



#6 ebusinesstutor

ebusinesstutor

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1049
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

Outreach in city parks is one of my favourite things to do. I put out a call for volunteers to come out from my club and we will do a session if we have at least 2 of us.

Most times, we have 5-7 volunteers out with scopes so not much worry about problems.

#7 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10824
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:20 PM

Here in Denver they have public viewing nights about once a month at Chamberlin Observatory. This was a 20" reflector built in the early 1900s. It is still in operation and the Denver Astronomical Society helps maintain the scope. The DAS allows the public to view thru this scope on these nights. Additionally, society members (and basically anybody else) who wants to can set up their scopes on the outer lawn of the observatory park and allow others to view thru the different types of scopes. It's usually a fun time for all. And to be truthful, theres just nothing like the look on a kids face the first time he sees Saturn (or Jupiter, or the moon even). Remember when you did?

#8 tezster

tezster

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 817
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Missisauga, Canada

Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:42 AM

I have a nice park next to me here in Boston and often thought it would be great to set up and show people Saturn, the moon or even Jupiter. However like every human I have concerns about being out there with my equipment and being a victim of some unfortunate incident.

So I am wondering.... Do any of you do outreach in the city? And if so are there some tips you can give someone who is looking to " maybe" do something like this? And should I not be so paranoid?

Perhaps having my wife and 2 small dogs accompany me might be a good idea? The park is fairly well traveled and has lighting but parks and city and night usually don't go well together. In theory that is....

What do you think?


I'd be a little wary of doing outreach alone - but getting even a small group together with a couple of scopes setup can be a lot of fun! :)

#9 omahaastro

omahaastro

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 500
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Omaha, NE

Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:26 AM

One of our more interesting settings... a horribly light polluted pedestrian bridge on our riverfront... great foot traffic though. Maybe it comes from living in a city like 'Omaha', but I've never felt any danger, although we do have some seedy parts of town as well. That said, in a place like this particular one, close to the entertainment district, I guess there's a little higher exposure to inebriated folks.. but we've never had any problems. I just love these 'unlikely' venues... get the best reactions from people surprised to see us, and what we're looking at (of course limited to lunar/planetary here).

Posted Image

Posted Image

#10 Gardner

Gardner

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 864
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2004
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:14 PM

Daniel, tonight (10/20) is the NHAS Sidewalk Astronomy night in Portsmouth, NH. We are in Market Square as Ted mentioned earlier, I'll be there with my C9.25 as will a few more club members. If you're not busy tonight drop by and say hi and see how fun it is to do astronomy from "downtown".

#11 Skylook123

Skylook123

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7491
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:49 PM

Last night three of us supported a library foundation function in the tiny center courtyard of a small shopping mall. We had the moon, Summer Triangle, and Cassiopeia above the lit up area and tall buildings, and horrible cloud cover everywhere. Still, we did pretty good. First we all had the moon, then I was able to get The Ring and The Owl Cluster easily, but every time I went to Albireo, the clouds would take it away. Worst venue I ever did, but the crowd did enjoy seeing the telescopes. I had a 10" SCT, Bill had an 8" dob, and the other Jim had an 8" SCT. Jim was able to autoalign his, but Bill and I were limited to native astronomy intelligence and despite the near daylight environment, I was able to hit all my targets the old fashioned way, with a Telrad from memory. It can be done, if the clouds stay away. Luckily they were moving a lot, so targets opened up, but then slammed shut after a while.

#12 Daniel Guzas

Daniel Guzas

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 668
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2010
  • Loc: Bethlehem NH/ Boston MA

Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:56 PM

Daniel, tonight (10/20) is the NHAS Sidewalk Astronomy night in Portsmouth, NH. We are in Market Square as Ted mentioned earlier, I'll be there with my C9.25 as will a few more club members. If you're not busy tonight drop by and say hi and see how fun it is to do astronomy from "downtown".


Ohh man that sounds exciting. I would love to stop by but I am tied up this evening. I would love to attend sometime! I will try to attend one of your other outreach events so I'll check your web site to see the schedule. I would love to see how all the interaction works.

And I was thinking of maybe setting up Halloween night at my front steps while handing out candy and give some young ones a treat with a view thru my telescope. But it looks like the moon won't be high enough for viewing. If I can find a cool target to the east which is at least 40-50 degrees above the horizon I may think of doing it. This may be a great way to get my feet wet in outreach.

Thanks for the invite. I hope to see you at another of your events!

#13 Gardner

Gardner

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 864
  • Joined: 19 Jan 2004
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:07 AM

For Halloween I put the scope on NGC457 and tell the kids to take a look at ET. Most of the younger ones don't know about ET but the parents do!

#14 Skylook123

Skylook123

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7491
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:06 AM

On Halloween, NGC457 (The Owl Cluster) is upside down in my SCT's eyepiece so I call it The Bat. For the parents I call it ET and Johnny 5, the robot from the movie Short Circuit, saying his famous line "No Disassemble"

#15 janehoustonjones

janehoustonjones

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 637
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2007
  • Loc: 34 N 118 W, 652.0 feet

Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:38 PM

I do sidewalk astronomy once a month in Los Angeles County. We have very bright urban skies, and so we focus mostly on the moon and planets. Some of our group often points out M42, double stars, and bright star clusters. We travel 150+ miles for dark-sky public star parties within local National Parks several times every year, too.

On the sidewalk, I hand out these moon maps, if asked questions about landing locations. That's the most frequent question (Can I see the flag, landers, etc). Since first quarter moon is the frequent sidewalk target, many landing site locations are visible on our sidewalk nights. If someone is really really interested, I star hop to Ritter/Sabine for a close look at Apollo 11's location. :-)

Map 1 LPI Lunar Landing Site Chart

Map 2 for Int'l Observe The Moon Night in Sept, page 2 is "evergreen"

#16 omahaastro

omahaastro

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 500
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Omaha, NE

Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:08 PM

Hmm, Jane Houston Jones... I think I've heard of you and your sidewalk astronomy. ;)

You're my hero! :) I love this forum, where else can you find so many astronomy 'celebrities', authors, etc.

#17 janehoustonjones

janehoustonjones

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 637
  • Joined: 21 Oct 2007
  • Loc: 34 N 118 W, 652.0 feet

Posted 22 October 2012 - 04:36 PM

Aww, thanks!

The real celebrities are the stars are in our eyepieces! :dob:

#18 oldtimer

oldtimer

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1331
  • Joined: 13 Nov 2008
  • Loc: Lake County Illinois

Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:18 PM

I sometimes set up one of my scope on a parkway along side of a lake in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I find that the bigger the telescope I set up the more likely people will stop and look and the less likely they are to thnnk I'm some weirdo!






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics