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Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers?

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36 replies to this topic

#26 aezoss


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:28 AM

Outreach isn't my thing but I had a cool experience on the front lawn Jan 30 this year. The kids had gone inside after checking out crescent Venus with our 127mm Mak. A girl in her early twenties bounded out of her vehicle and asked what I was up to.

Venus descending into the trees wasn't much to look at and the seeing wasn't kind to Jupiter, but Rima Hyginus at 187x was incredible, it's the best view of the first quarter moon I've had. There was a surreal sense of depth to the feature. She was captivated.

Brief but rewarding. Hyginus hasn't looked as good since. Apparently my scope operates 10x better in the presence of a pretty girl :o


#27 trw


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:09 PM

Over the years I have had a lot of great responses from folks at outreach events. But to keep it in perspective, once I was showing the moon to a very young girl from rural southern Ohio. She took a long look, during which time I was developing warm fuzzy feelings about what a wonderful person I was for giving her this opportunity. Then, she turned away from the telescope, looked up at me with bright blue eyes and said, "Gaw#$^mmit, I cain't see sh^t!"

#28 Doc Willie

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:56 PM

I was out viewing on a friends property where there is often a lot going on. One night a few twenty-somethings came by. One of them stayed quite a while, and I showed him a number of things. As he left, he said "I learned more tonight than I did in two semesters of astronomy in college."

#29 Skylook123



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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:12 PM

You opened his window. Good job.

#30 csrlice12



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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:52 AM

That's the difference between book learning and experience....regardless of the field....

#31 Mr Onions

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:59 AM

Terrance,that's was a wonderful story.
Great to hear.

#32 shrevestan


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Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:00 AM

Great stories! Thanks for sharing. I always love reading these.

#33 ///^**^\\\


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

My favorite of the first timer reactions is that little snap back of the head, like a double take. Then comes the verbal reaction of WOW! or a soft quizical Holy Sh$t. At that point they settle thier eye back into the eyepiece. Then you tell them to try the focuser and you get that " oh yeah thats better." Then the questions come.

When a first timer displays that little head snap it is most certainly a sign of being subtly blown away.

Being amazed and/or observing people being amazed is amazing.

The fact that in todays hyper-in your face, commercial, video media obsessed society. That simply looking through some glass up into the night sky can cause an involantary physical response of amazement. This point is especially amazing.

So what kind of magic 100 or 200 years ago astronomy must have been for someone to point to a bright light in the night sky then allow you to look through the magic tube and see the rings of Saturn.

#34 Doug Reilly

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

Jim and everyone else too...

Great experiences and stories here! This is one of my favorite forums about astronomy because of stories like this, and I'm with Jim, outreach has become the best part of astronomy for me, though I still enjoy the solitary observing I sometimes can squeeze in.

Among my favorite reactions from doing public outreach have been profanity. Then I know people are starting to truly grasp something that they can't articulate...

I wrote a piece about that on my blog...I won't copy it here since it has profanity in it. But here's the link, and please heed the warning that the language is colorful, but absolutely accurate to what people have said at my eyepiece. I like doing outreach the most with people who otherwise would never have the chance to look through a telescope.

Lucky for us (I guess) that's just about everyone.

Here's the link: http://bicycleastron...03/hello-world/

(It's also the kickoff piece to my blog punkastronomy, which has now morphed into Bicycle Astronomy as I have melded bike and telescope to create a mobile micro star party.

#35 csrlice12



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Posted 16 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

Liked John Dobson's comment about "You weren't born in New York, you were born into a universe"

#36 GeneT


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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

We went into an area of San Antonio our club members thought would be dangerous. We set up around a lake encircled by a walking path. Moms and dads were walking with their children. We had about 5 telescopes set up. One by one the families stopped by. They were the nicest people imaginable. One young man had tattoos over most of his body. He spent several minutes at each telescope, and asked a lot of questions. Before he left, he went by, shook everyone's hands, and thanked us. Several people asked us when we would return. Lessons learned: the stars speak to all people, young and old, rich or poor; and, be careful about making generalizations about people.

#37 tecmage



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

Doug, that was an excellent, excellent piece!

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