Teaching adults and, especially kids, the night-sky is so important today with the new generation being stuck in front of their electronic devices either gaming or pursuing social media. We need to get our new generations off their butts, out of their bubbles and back into nature and the outdoors! We especially have the responsibility as educators and mentors to teach our kids and the general public our night skies and astronomy!
Recently, I started setting up my 6-inch ES AR152 refractor telescope at a great location that brings both cool river breezes in the summer, lots of tourists and local residents and shops. This location is the Pawtuxet Valley Bridge in Pawtuxet, Cranston/Warwick, Rhode Island. On clear night opportunities, I head out and set up my gear around 8 PM and immediately get stares and wow's from people. My goal is to not only educate about the night sky and astronomy but also how to use a telescope and other astronomical gear.
So far, the experience has been a great one! This is not new to me since I am a member of Skyscrapers Inc., our historic astronomical club in Rhode Island. I have done outreach before but never as an one-man band, so to speak. I have had the pleasure to do the following:
Show the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars through my telescope.
Explain and demonstrate how my telescope works and is used.
Answer general questions on the night sky and how to get started in backyard astronomy.
Give out information re: local astronomical clubs, events and information about myself.
The people, for the most part, have been very friendly, cooperative and amazed to what I am doing and what they are observing in my telescope! Seeing their smiles, enthusiasm and excitement, especially from the young ones, is what's most rewarding! The late great John Dobson was legendary for this kind of "sidewalk astronomy" and I would hope to see more amateur astronomers donate their time in such an endeavor.
To learn more about the Pawtuxet Village go to: