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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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Lynnblac
super member
*****

Reged: 04/06/09

Loc: Arizona
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5552040 - 12/03/12 01:17 PM Attachment (85 downloads)

This is what outreach is all about.

As told by Mike Wiles. a volunteer at GCSP North Rim.
"The first night of the star party a dad came up to me with his 8 year old daughter very late in the night and asked if I'd show her a galaxy because she had never seen one before. I gladly accommodated her and she begged her father to bring her back the next day even though they were supposed to leave. When the next night came...she appeared in line - literally jumping up and down with excitement at the prospect. A few others and myself spent the night showing her all kinds of things. This letter was found attached to one of our cars at the end of the night. Her dad also communicated to one of the guys in our group that her mother had died three years ago and that this was the first time he'd really seen her come out of her shell in the time that has passed since. This was the first of several times during the week that I got all sniffly and had to think of happy things like rainbow colored puppies to keep the water works from firing up on me."

Also:
The family made reservation, on the spot, for 2013 GCSP.

Edited by Lynnblac (12/03/12 02:45 PM)


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Lynnblac]
      #5552055 - 12/03/12 01:32 PM

"Out of the mouths of babes..."

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StarStuff1
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Coolkid70]
      #5552148 - 12/03/12 02:26 PM

Comet Sovaporlit. It might have been a Russian discovery.



(Sodium Vapor Light)

Edited by StarStuff1 (12/04/12 11:08 AM)


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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5552502 - 12/03/12 05:49 PM

My most memorable experience comes not from my club's regular outreach activities, but rather while observing on my patio late one evening. Perhaps because it was unexpected.

There was a group of teenage boys loitering around the sidewalk, being a tad loud, obnoxious, with every other word of their conversation consisting of profanity - typical teenagers, I suppose.

Stargazing appeared to be the last thing on their minds, when one of them approached me and asked what I was looking at.

"The Moon", I told him. "Did you want to take a look?"

I guided him to look through the eyepiece once he got to my scope. He bent down, took a peek, his jaws dropped to the floor and shouted "HOLY &*#$%^$%$#$!"

He proceeded to wave his friends over in a very animated fashion "Yo! Yo! You guys gotta come and see this!"

So I shared the views with them all, but that first boy that looked through the scope was simply bubbling with uncontainable excitement and enthusiasm through it all, wanting to know what all the "stuff" he seeing actually were.

"I can see volcanoes!" (I think he meant the craters). So I gave him a quick rundown on the major features, the lunar seas, while he was there.

Soon after, a car came to pick them up (which they were obviously waiting for). The last thing he said to me before he left was "that is the most amazing thing I have ever seen."



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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: tezster]
      #5552909 - 12/03/12 09:41 PM

Thanks for that, Lynn. Like I said, these experiences you just can't buy.

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aezoss
super member


Reged: 03/27/11

Loc: The Great White North
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Paraclete]
      #5553228 - 12/04/12 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

Lee


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trw
member


Reged: 07/28/09

Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: aezoss]
      #5553959 - 12/04/12 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!"

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Doc Willie
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? [Re: trw]
      #5555991 - 12/05/12 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."

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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5556643 - 12/05/12 11:12 PM

You opened his window. Good job.

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5557379 - 12/06/12 11:52 AM

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

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Mr Onions
Two Time International Photographical Competition Winner
*****

Reged: 04/14/07

Loc: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5592236 - 12/28/12 07:59 AM

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


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shrevestan
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: Shreveport, LA
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Mr Onions]
      #5593598 - 12/29/12 12:00 AM

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

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///^**^\\\
member


Reged: 12/25/10

Loc: Deep Dark Blackness of central...
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: shrevestan]
      #5624407 - 01/15/13 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.


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Doug Reilly
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/29/08

Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5626051 - 01/16/13 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://bicycleastronomy.org/2009/03/03/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.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Doug Reilly]
      #5626532 - 01/16/13 04:31 PM

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

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: Paraclete]
      #5637592 - 01/22/13 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.

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tecmageModerator
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/13/10

Loc: Glenview, IL
Re: Memorable outreach reactions from first-timers? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5640447 - 01/24/13 11:12 AM

Doug, that was an excellent, excellent piece!

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