The Bear Essentials
Even Smokey the Bear is curious about what can be found in an eyepiece.
(Credit: Mark Gibson) of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England

How many amateur astronomy clubs can claim that Smokey the Bear looked through their telescope? The Astronomical Society of Southern New England can! At the Freetown State Forest in Maine, Smokey, as well as other visitors to the forest got a peek at the Sun (with a very special solar filter), the Moon, and Venus in one of the Club's telescopes.

Not every club has the honor of Smokey as a member of the public attending their star parties, but the following clubs have huge crowds at their events. They must be doing something right.

George Guzik of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh said at the Raystown Star Party in Pennsylvania: "I did not expect such a large crowd. The skies were clear and the stars came out like a field of Asters in bloom. The Milky Way was very prominent overhead. Of course we began by showing Jupiter, then off to many other heavenly objects. The event was a smashing success."

John Sachs of The York County Astronomical Society comments after their club's planetarium program and telescope demonstration: "We had so many people attend that we scheduled an extra show. The turnout was great and the public really enjoyed the shows. Afterwards we had Glen Grainger a club member featuring the planet Mars, pointing out constellations and Messier objects."

Are you curious and want the fun of looking through a telescope?
If so find your local astronomy club here.