They were rewarded with the brightest iridium flare anyone can remember seeing.
(photo credit ASSNE)
This year's Astronomy Day was a huge success across the country. On April 21st, astronomy clubs got to shine. We've heard from over 400 astronomy enthusiasts who reached out to more than 10,000 people that day! They gave many their first look through a telescope, talked about the wonders of the universe, and clearly had a great time doing it. Here are just a few of the many events that were held in celebration of our fascination with the night sky.
The Norman North Astronomy Club went all out, logging many events throughout the day. Eileen Grzybowski recounts their early start with the, "Oklahoma Centennial/89-er Day Norman parade as a walking model of the solar system (scaled for distance). Our Sun stepped out first followed by each of the planets. Mercury carried the Night Sky Network model for demonstrating the transit of Mercury. Our Earth pirouetted her way on her axis trying to maintain a 23 and one half-degree tilt. The Moon wore a face mask and orbited the Earth always with the same side facing the Earth." The playfulness continues with comets delivering water, planets making transits, and even some constellations. Last but not least, "As we passed the reviewing stand the announcer wanted to know where Pluto was and our Pluto stepped forward and promptly bowed with his international NOT symbol (hula hoop) designating him a not planet."
From the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, Neta Apple tells us about inspiring a child at one of the four locations their club members brought astronomy to this year. The Kansas City Museum saw her doing demonstrations of how scientists detect planets around distant stars: "I found that more people seemed to know about extrasolar planets this year. One little boy was so interested and inspired that he stands out in my mind for his eager expression and how large his eyes became when he got so excited about the information. His mother was so considerate of him and felt that what he had to offer him was so good that she let him stay to talk to me, while she kept her much younger son entertained just outside the door, all the while smiling and encouraging her older son to stay as long as he wished."
George Eberts from the Southeast Ohio Astronomical Society told us about the city of Athens' Last Call for Saturn: "We were set-up on the College Green. Early in the evening we had a lot of children and teenagers with their parents. As the night progress, we had mostly adults on their way to or from the local drinking establishments. Sobriety was not a requirement to look at Saturn. A good time was had by all."
If you missed Astronomy Day this year, don't fret. Astronomy clubs can often be found all year long with their telescopes ready for sharing the night sky. To find a club close to you, click here.