ASTRONOMY DAY 2007! Pt. 1 - April 21

Thursday, March 15 2007 @ 02:15 am EDT

Contributed by: bobmoody

What if Astronomy Day happened twice in one year? In 2007, it DOES! This year we'll celebrate Astronomy Day on April 21 in the Spring, and we'll do it all over again this Fall on September 15.

Hackett Public Schools have asked me to come and visit their classrooms 4 times so far in this 2006-2007 school year, and on this occasion I presented a Night Sky Network program on extra- solar planets and the scale of our Milky Way galaxy to the 3rd thru 6th grade Gifted & Talented students. We'll give some of these same presentations at ASTRONOMY DAY 2007 PT. 1 at the Nature Center near Barling, AR. - Photo by Gayla Edwards, Hackett School Gifted & Talented instructor; used by permission.
It has been quite some time since AOAS celebrated an Astronomy Day with any sort of concerted effort. I am ashamed to admit that, but it's time to start reorganizing and putting our best efforts into a local event. Luckily, at least from my point of view anyway, this will be a special year since its the first year that has ever seen TWO Astronomy Day dates. TWO chances to atone for all our missed opportunities in the past. We'll hold our first event in collaboration with the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center on April 21st, and this fall we'll hold our second Astronomy Day 2007 at the UA Fort Smith campus.

April 21 - 12:00 noon to 4:30 and then Dusk until 11:00pm
Karen Westcamp-Johnson is the Park Interpreter at the Nature Center and she has helped us to acquire the Center's large multimedia room for our displays and for our video presentations as well. We will put together several presentations using our Night Sky Network toolkits and the materials they contain, and we'll also have 2 or 3 DVD presentations, such as on the joint NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft now performing its mission to Saturn and it's largest moon Titan. We also have a DVD presentation about the Hubble Space Telescope in it's 15th year of operations describing much of what it discovered in 2006 and another excellent program might be the DVD "Cosmic Collisions" about the obvious pitfalls of objects hitting Earth, but the newly realized benefits of all sorts of things "going bump in the night" as well.
Member Larry Taylor lifts a young visitor to the eyepiece of his telescope at a visit we made to Hackett in 2006. We'll need "all hands on deck" to assist with public viewing for the evening of April 21 at Wells Lake near the Nature Center. Photo by Gayla Edwards, used by permission.
Our displays and presentations will be active from 12:00 noon until 4:30pm when the Nature Center closes for the day. Later in the evening on April 21, we'll return to the Nature Center area to the picnic area on the shore of Wells Lake for a public Astronomy Day Star Party. We'll set up our telescopes by 7:30 and observe from dusk until at least 11:00pm that evening. We'll need several members with your telescopes for this event.

We'll have a discussion and some preliminary planning for this first event at the Messier Marathon this Saturday evening, and again on April 6th at our next regular AOAS meeting when we'll finalize some plans and modify others. There are many things that you can do as a member of AOAS to help this Astronomy Day become a success. You might help with the displays and presentations or you may want to wait and come out to setup your telescope to help with the star party that evening. Either way you choose, we will need as many members helping as possible, and I hope that we have several members step up to ask, "What can I do to help on Astronomy Day 2007 Pt. 1?"

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