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#1 TL2101

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:13 PM

Excited about doing my first public outreach event with the local astronomy club. My scope should be ideal for outreach having both goto and tracking. My plan is to stick to 5 or 6 bright objects and give the basics like distance and descriptions of each.

I am prepared for the how far can you see with that scope question. Any other common questions I should be prepared for when doing public outreach?

#2 csrlice12

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:38 PM

Truthfully, most public outreach is conducted in light polluted skies. I'd probably stick with the moon and planets, MAYBE the brightest DSOs (mostly because fuzzy blobs usually don't elicit a lot of "WOWs" like Saturn or Jupiter would. At a dark site, however, its a wide open game....

#3 MikeBOKC

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:38 PM

"Is that real?"
"How much does it cost?"
"what is the power/magnitication?"
"Have you ever seen a UFO?"

I have facts (distances, etc.) on a few dozen common outreach targets written on some index cards I keep in my miscellany box for use at outreach events. It seems to add a lot for visitors to know that that wow-inducing nebula in Orion is 1400 light years away.

#4 csrlice12

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

Why is that last question always asked?

Why is it I keep that Cylon Base Ship Sticker handy next to the Saturn Stickers?????

#5 David Pavlich

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:49 PM

Ayup...stick with bright stuff. NGC457 is up now (ET/Owl/Jonnny 5 cluster) and is always a big hit. If someone asks to see a dim object, this time of year I slew to M31.

David

#6 TL2101

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:54 PM

"Is that real?"
"How much does it cost?"
"what is the power/magnitication?"
"Have you ever seen a UFO?"


No it's virtual
Less than the next size up
Power is set on stun
Yes, I arrived on one

OK now I am ready. :roflmao:

I am going to do the index cards, great idea.

NGC 457 is one of my favorites.

#7 Mike4242

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:38 PM

One I've gotten a few times is "Can you see what the astronauts left behind on the moon?".

#8 CrazyPanda

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:47 PM

You'll probably be asked how it's able to find objects. Might be worth developing a concise explanation of the RA/Dec coordinate system.

#9 omahaastro

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:45 PM

I find it's pretty easy to explain star hopping... the thrill of the celestial 'treasure hunt'. ;)

#10 tedbnh

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 10:55 PM

Will the moon phase be near first quarter? If so, you may be asked to point to the moon. Have a map and ask people to find certain craters in the eyepiece that you show them on the map. Giving them something to look for improves the experience.

#11 TL2101

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:27 PM

It will be held on October 20th and the Moon will be up in the early evening so will show the Moon early on. In the past when I have attended public night but as a visitor not a docent physics students from the local high schools are there as part of their homework assignment. They are always a pleasure to talk to. This outreach is held on top of Mt. Diablo and there is a bit of a drive so the attendees tend to have a high degree of interest which makes it a lot fun.

In the past I was the one asking all the questions now I will be on the receiving end. As long as I don't run into someone like me I should be ok. :grin: And for what I lack in knowledge I make up for with enthusiasm.

#12 StarStuff1

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:23 PM

One I've gotten a few times is "Can you see what the astronauts left behind on the moon?".


Along this line I have been asked many times "Can you see the flag the astronauts left on the Moon?" I start the response by saying "No, the flag is sticking vertical in the lunar soil so it is pointed directly at us and is too small to see." Then I explain that no telescope on Earth can see any pieces of human equipment left behind.

#13 Matthew Ota

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:16 PM

After over fifteen years of public outreach, the most common question I get is "How much does that telescope cost?" The number two question is "How much does that telescope weigh?"
The number three question is "How far can you see". It takes careful explaining to educate them on not how far you can see, but what you can see with a given aperture.

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:34 AM

One I've gotten a few times is "Can you see what the astronauts left behind on the moon?".


Along this line I have been asked many times "Can you see the flag the astronauts left on the Moon?" I start the response by saying "No, the flag is sticking vertical in the lunar soil so it is pointed directly at us and is too small to see." Then I explain that no telescope on Earth can see any pieces of human equipment left behind.


I disagree, the small camera/scopes on multiple satellites orbiting the third planet from it's sun, in an outer arm of the galaxy commonly referred to by it's inhabitants as "The Milky Way"; show a remarkable amount of human detrious over a large percentage of the habitable areas of the planet.

#15 David Knisely

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:14 PM

One I've gotten a few times is "Can you see what the astronauts left behind on the moon?".


Along this line I have been asked many times "Can you see the flag the astronauts left on the Moon?" I start the response by saying "No, the flag is sticking vertical in the lunar soil so it is pointed directly at us and is too small to see." Then I explain that no telescope on Earth can see any pieces of human equipment left behind.


I disagree, the small camera/scopes on multiple satellites orbiting the third planet from it's sun, in an outer arm of the galaxy commonly referred to by it's inhabitants as "The Milky Way"; show a remarkable amount of human detrious over a large percentage of the habitable areas of the planet.


er, I think he meant left behind on the moon.... In that case, the statement that no telescope on Earth can see the hardware we have left on the moon is pretty accurate. Clear skies to you.

#16 tedbnh

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:51 AM

"Can you see the flag the astronauts left behind on the moon?".


To this question, I always respond, deadpan, "No, its after 5pm. They take it down at night." Then I wait for them to get it. Always fun to have a good laugh, then I explain...

#17 Lynnblac

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:30 AM

Your job is to interpret the sky for the neophyte. Which is much more than facts and figures. Example: Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter 400 years ago. This observation lead to mankind's understanding the true nature of our solar system, or Jupiter is a failed star, it emits more energy than it receives from the Sun, had Jupiter been more massive we would live in a double star system. Which leads to the little know fact that the majority of stars are double, which leads to.......

#18 Skylook123

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:55 PM

It does impress the crowd when talking about Jupiter that the layer of the sun we see is about 10,000 degrees F, while the core of Jupiter, due to the gravitational pressure, is 35,000 degrees F. So it, and all the gas giants, are emitters due to the mass compression. But Jupiter is three and a half times as hot at its core as the surface of the sun we see.

#19 Gardner

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:35 PM

"Can you see the flag the astronauts left behind on the moon?".


To this question, I always respond, deadpan, "No, its after 5pm. They take it down at night." Then I wait for them to get it. Always fun to have a good laugh, then I explain...

:funny:

I wish I had thought of that last night, I got that question many times. Along with the "how much does that cost?" very frequent question.

#20 omahaastro

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:55 PM

On a more serious note (that is definitely the most asked question I get though)... I'm amazed how many folks are also perplexed to find us offering a view of the Moon in BROAD DAYLIGHT! ;)

#21 Skylook123

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 04:46 PM

During the week at the Grand Canyon Star Party, we have several of the astronomers show off the moon and any planets up during the day. At least two people have home made azimuth - elevation tricks on their scopes and do quite well at finding Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn when they are up during the day. All it takes is a listing of the AZ-EL at key times during the day. The moon is pretty easy, too.

#22 omahaastro

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:19 AM

What surprised me about these folks... up to the point they saw the Moon in broad daylight... they were of the thinking that the Moon only EXISTED in the night time sky. We'll track down bright planets as well, when we're properly motivated, which of course further surprises members of the public. :)

I'm sure everyone here has heard the response... "Yeah right, that's a picture isn't it.". Of course my response is always, "If I were going to use a picture, I'd pick a much more impressive one than that.". :)

#23 csrlice12

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

As a member in good standing of Eyepieces Anonymous ("We never met an eyepiece we didn't like"); I must admit, Yes, I've viewed the moon in broad daylight. There, I've said it....

#24 TL2101

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 03:08 PM

Well I have my first public outreach under my belt. I must say I was slightly nervous aligning the scope with a crowd of strangers watching me but my training paid off and I had the scope setup without a hitch. Most scopes were viewing the Moon so I decided to go straight to M31.

The Andromeda Galaxy with M32 in the fov was a big hit and I had a long line waiting for a glimpse at the two galaxies. Well I was prepared for all the questions we have talked about in this thread but only got the UFO question. :ohmy: It was by an adult the kids had a lot better questions. There were so many people I stayed on M31 most the night and soon developed my presentation to cover the distance, how many stars and that it is headed our way.

As the night became colder most of the crowd had left but a group stuck around and I took them to see NGC 457 then M15 to show them the different types of clusters.

#25 tedbnh

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:52 PM

I'm surprised myself at how often I end up on the same object for hours at a time during public events. You do see more the longer you look, then there is more to explain. I think that's a plus.






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