Discussing why NASA puts telescopes in space has been done in a variety of venues and opens broader discussions about astronomy. Sometimes in unexpected places! Ask your local astronomy club about scheduled events.
Mark Brown of River Bend Astronomy Club in Illinois (photo - above left) takes astronomy to the local Children's Museum, representing the Earth's atmosphere with bubble wrap. He reports "Since much of our astronomy day focus was about telescopes, we found it quite fitting to tell our visitors why we put telescopes into space. The most interesting fact we were able to convey during our talk was that the Hubble Space Telescope was celebrating its 14th birthday in space and is still sending incredible photos back to earth. The children really enjoyed looking through the mock telescopes and looking at the "pretty" Hubble images. This is a simple, down to earth and fun concept that young children and even adults can relate to and enjoy."
Prior to an Astronomy Day star party, Dan Doyle from the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas (photo - upper right) fields questions from the audience about putting telescopes above the atmosphere.
Patty Mayer of Treasure Coast Astronomical Society was on a camping trip with her daughters at Kissimmee Prairie State Park in Florida, and attracted a nearby group of Boy Scouts who joined them for a tour of the night sky. "They were excited to see Saturn, Jupiter, the moon and many more objects. When I asked why we put they thought we put telescopes in space the answers were varied and it opened up a great discussion about telescopes, finding planets around other stars, and what we all thought of Hubble."
Museums, public astronomy events, and Scouts. If your local astronomy club is a member of the Night Sky Network, contact them for an unforgettable evening. What clubs are involved? Click here to see a map. You can contact one of these clubs through the Club Directory.
Photo Credits (clockwise from upper left): Eric S. Young, David Hutchison, Debbie Hargrove