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How to get the public more excited about what they are seeing in the eyepiece?

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#26 geovermont


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Posted 20 December 2023 - 07:39 PM

I've found the discussion above very helpful. I do occasional outreach but am not an expert at it. Some of you clearly have a lot more experience at it. I'll echo those who say that Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, etc. often get the best response. I answer a lot of questions, but try not to lecture too much, although I can see how setting the stage for viewing DSOs is critical.


As far as the scope goes, I bring my homemade 6 inch Dobsonian and make a point of showing people how to use it. Eyepiece is usually a workhorse Plossl. I let them track the object (and am ready to get them back on target). I'm trying to show them how simple it can be. Anyway, that's how I do it.


Again, a very good discussion.

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#27 Richie2shoes


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Posted 14 January 2024 - 04:29 PM

Like everyone said, how you tell them what they're looking at is more important than what.  If there's a lot of kids, I try and tie the light years to history, for galaxies, I tell them how that gray smudge is actually billions of stars, tying it to the milky way.  Lastly, the open clusters that look like things  are always a hit, coathanger, owl, cooling tower, etc.

#28 No N in collimation

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Posted 15 January 2024 - 01:27 PM

"When was the first time you ever noticed the stars as a kid?" Let them talk to you about their experiences. 


"You want to see something cool? 99% of humanity has never seen what you are about to see. You're going to be disappointed, but it's really cool."


"Those stars you are looking at, those little dots -- they're as big as the sun. Imagine how big that gas cloud must be if it's that much bigger than those suns!"


"What's the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?" 

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#29 kfiscus



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Posted 15 January 2024 - 10:23 PM

To increase attendance @ events and to increase interest @ the EP, it helps if you can emphasize the rarity of something.  I don't lie but I do exaggerate rarity- it really works to pique interest.  People respond to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).


Let me give some examples:


Showing a triple-transit of Jovian moons.  I got lots of people to come look by emphasizing that I had never seen a triple (the truth).  I'd seen lots of singles and a couple of doubles.


Inviting people to see a run-of-the-mill partial solar eclipse in 2000- I wouldn't have gotten very many to come.  By promoting it as the first solar eclipse in something like 700 years to happen on Christmas Day, I got 35 to come out on Christmas morning in cold and snowy Minnesota.


In showing the 'Lunar X', I emphasized that I've only seen it a few times.  I neglect to mention that it happens about every month for somebody.

Edited by kfiscus, 15 January 2024 - 10:25 PM.

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