Telescopes as Wonder Machines
The Brazos Region Astronomy Service Society had a great crowd for its Serendipitous Supercenter Sidewalk Session.
(Credit: Tristan Closs for BRASS)

If you've never seen Saturn or the Moon through a telescope, we recommend you get to one as soon as possible. That one vision has changed the lives of so many and we want to inspire you too. If you have already seen the wonders of our Solar System, take another deeper peek into the night sky. You will be amazed at all you can see and how it makes you feel to see something so far away. Go ahead- be amazed.

Diana Klebenow at the Brazosport Astronomy Club in TX tells great stories of discovery at local star parties: "The crowd was very enthusiastic! There were many questions - one young fellow asked if Saturn was inside the telescope!" Another clear night, "The most entertaining moment of the evening came when one young girl - learning to operate a scope got it focused, the Moon popped out, and she shouted, 'HOLY WHITE!' It was hard to stop laughing after that."

From the Neville Public Museum Astronomical Society in WI, Katrina DeWitt tells us of a new amateur who learned how to use his telescope at their star party: "We were surprised to see so many elementary and middle school aged children attend. I think they outnumbered the adults at this event. We even had one gentleman bring his 6" reflector telescope to learn how to use it. By the end of the evening he had a very nicely collimated telescope and was able to locate Saturn, the moon and Alcor and Mizor by himself."

In NJ, the Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area (ASTRA) had a great night with the Fort Monmouth Civil Air Patrol this February. Rosemarie Spedaliere tells us, "What a fantastic group of people! There were many questions answered and the highlight of my night was a little 5 year old boy. He loved looking at Saturn. Then he told me he had a telescope with him I had him get it out of the car with his dad's help. I taught him how to use the finder scope and how to find the Pleiades, Saturn, Orion Nebula and the moon. He was so intrigued! The question of the night came from a young man who asked how we take pictures of the Milky Way if we live in it."

Just so that you are not left wondering, we cannot take pictures of the Milky Way. Astronomers use pictures of galaxies similar to the Milky Way to demonstrate the shape of our home galaxy. Stop by a star party in your area and learn so much more about what is out there. To find an astronomy club near you, click here.