Saturday, March 7, 2009

The International Year of Astronomy

Why do you like astronomy? What is it that brings one out on a subzero night to observe the heavens? Is it curiosity about this world and how we fit into the big picture? It could be that we love to step up to the eyepiece and experience and behold the beauty that is hidden in the sky above. Some may want to see Gods handy work. What ever the reason, we do it. We love it. It brings a quenching to our quest for knowledge. I know this is not every one's cup of tea. There have been many times in the past where I have found something so extraordinary in my eyepiece I just had to call out "Hey Honey come look at this!!!" She will always come out ( Cuz She loves me ) take a one second look and say that's nice and goes back inside. It always makes me chuckle . We seem to want to share important things with the people in our lives. My teenage and older kids on the other hand love to step up to the scope and be wowed. There are millions of folks out there that have never (heavy on the never) turned an eye skyward to gaze upon the treasures the universe has for us all. This is the time my friends, the moment to do it for them. This year will provide many opportunities for you the common lay astronomer to share your love of astronomy with the masses. I hear" But Steve I do'nt know diddlydo not about astronomy Not like them other galaxy gurus in our club." I get that I really do but you know gobs more about it than you think. Public outreach is about sharing I get asked all the time the simplest of questions about ole Jupiter or Saturn or the moon or even better: How did you get stated in astronomy? Tell them your story. So many times I have heard "you mean that thing right there ( pointing to a point of light in the sky) is what I am seeing in this scope? That's Saturn? Wow!!!"If they are at the event in the first place they have the spark. They need to know astronomy is doable for them be it with just the old peepers or binoculars or an affordable scope. They need to know they will not be alone in the hobby and be overwhelmed by it. We as amateur astronomers know that a huge support mechanism exists for us. They as pre-newbies to the hobby do not. Every bit of this you can do, convey or share. You will come away from the experience fulfilled. I have never had a bad experience at a public event. I have done hundreds of them. So go out and share. You will not be sorry for it. Just keep in mind the more folks interested in the night sky will get us one step closer to darker skies. We all could use more of that!

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