School Star Parties

One of the community outreaches offered by the Astronomical Society of Nevada is free school star parties. I have always found this to be very rewarding. It is a simple way to kill misconceptions about science. The most common misconception is the North Star is the brightest star. Or that you can see any planet at any time. An ASN affliction is a no moon night, yet the public loves to see the craters and mountains of the moon. These misconceptions aside, I love the expressions students and parents have when they first look through a good telescope. Wow and Cool are the favorite expressions. I make it mandatory for parents to look through the telescope. I also give them an ASN business card. It is a comfort for parents to know, they can take their children to see the universe again on another night. I usually get at least one new member from a school star party. February was science fair month for Washoe County School District. Veterans, Lenz, Taylor, Warner, and Juniper Elementary School all invited us to give their students the opportunity to see the universe.
It is always nice to have more than one telescope at a star party. I want to thank Tony, Jeff, Peggy, Warren, and Phil for bringing their telescopes out and sharing the fun. This was a new experience for Warren. He was amazed at the knowledge of some students about astronomy. Warren is getting to know his C11 for project RECON. Sharing resources at school star parties is no different than at public or members only parties (Paul, He liked my 8mm eyepiece too.) Jeff’s refractor is a perfect star parties telescope with the IPad and all the gadgets.
Three telescopes make a good star party. One for the moon, one for a planet, and one for a deep space object. A fourth person, master of stars, helps greatly to guide the public to the different telescopes, point out constellations, and answer questions about ASN. Peggy did a great job at Taylor being the Master of stars! The Deep Space telescope brings new knowledge to the public. The life and death of stars is not well stated in the press. A surprised gift is always welcomed and the deep space objects are just that. Thank you all who helped.

Category: Programs Committee