Monday, August 14 2006 @ 08:00 PM CDT
Contributed by: bobmoody
For our AOAS bi-monthly meetings held 6 times each year on the first Friday of even-numbered months, we agreed to hold public observing events at Carol Ann Cross Park that we called "Stars in the Parks" in exchange for our room rental fees. Our "Stars in the Parks" events seemed a perfect partnership with the Parks Department from our perspective, but regretably, these highly successful public events will come to an end after this year.
|Visitors at the April 16, 2005 "Stars in the Parks" event catch a glimpse of Saturn through a large telescope. As many as 125 people attended that particular event, as at least 11 AOAS members with 8 telescopes helped share our universe with the general public for more than 3 hours.|
We had moved our meetings to the River Parks Events Building in 2005, but earlier this year, the Parks Department asked us to move back to Creekmore Park and the problems we'd had there. Our members want to use this opportunity as an attempt to more closely associate AOAS with an educational facility, and we are currently working to finalize an agreement to meet at UA Fort Smith for the next 2 years or so.
We are working towards an eventual, long-term meeting location at the future NEW Van Buren Public Library after it's construction is finished in late 2007 or 2008. We hope to make many solid relationships with Van Buren Library, with the VB High School and with UA Fort Smith as well, which will keep us associated with education taking us far into the 21st Century.
|The July 1st night of public viewing at Carol Ann Cross Park. These visitors had to stoop WAY over to catch a final quick glimpse of Saturn for the current 2006 observing season. This night saw about 35-40 visitors, with 8 AOAS members using 6 telescopes for approximately 2 hours.|
We have also decided on "going mobile" in 2007 as we attempt to set up public observing nights in surrounding towns. We'll offer one or two public nights in the Ft Smith/Van Buren area, and a few more in outlying area towns. These public events have been too successful for us to drop them completely, but just as importantly, our members also want to continue the practice. We truly enjoy getting out to help people experience the universe our way. We're just looking for an educationally friendlier place to hold them.
And so, we ask everyone to watch your local town newspapers and if we come to your town next year, come out and enjoy the view with us. Let us share with you our little neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy, and maybe even a few neighboring galaxies.
We'll also help all those folks who want to learn how to get the most out of a small telescope, and we offer regularly held summer classes in the "Basics of Astronomy" as well. We just may be setting up an event in your hometown and we hope to see you there!
Thanks everyone.....please come out and visit with us soon!
Caretaker, Coleman Observatory