One of the ways that amateur astronomers are making a positive impact in their local communities is through their dedication to astronomy outreach and science education. By hosting outreach events large and small, Night Sky Network member clubs have touched the lives and sparked the imaginations of over 260,000 people throughout the United States. Through educational toolkits filled with demonstrations, hands-on activities, presentations and printable handouts the Night Sky Network provides its member clubs with materials for every event. The diversity of the over 3,000 events held to date are a testimonial to the usefulness and flexibility of the Night Sky Network materials and the energy and ingenuity of our Night Sky Network members.
In Murfreesboro, TN the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society held their "Extreme Gravity" event where JanaRuth H. Ford reports that a group of 100 college students enjoyed a demonstration from the Night Sky Network's Black Hole Survival Toolkit: "The PowerPoint encouraged people to think and ask follow-up questions and the demonstrations encouraged a lot of interaction and hands-on activity. Several wanted to know where to find magnetic marbles so they could do demos for friends!"
Jim Zebrowski of the Aldrich Astronomical Society in Worcester, MA reports on an event held for a small group of 15 visitors to the Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary that involved a night hike and demonstrations from the Night Sky Network's "Telescopes" toolkit: "The telescope observing led to a perfect opportunity to talk about telescopes and how they work! I also used the spoon to demonstrate why the images in our telescope mirrors were upside down! All the children passed around the spoon to see their upside down image as a I explained the concept of gathering light with a special curved mirror in our outdoor telescopes that brought star light to a focus. I also found just how perceptive children can be when one young girl sitting just opposite me during the spoon demonstration yelled out that the other side of the spoon had her image right size up!"
Your local Night Sky Network astronomy club is part of the "building a
better community" effort; get in contact with them and see how they can
enrich your life with the wonders of astronomy! Whether the audience is young
or old; large or small; in a classroom setting or out under a starlit sky; astronomy
can be an educational adventure. To find a Night Sky Network club in your area,