No matter what level our affiliates are at, the Network represents a huge resource for sharing astronomy! These amateur groups joined the Network because they have a common goal to share the hobby and science of astronomy with the public through outreach.
"The City Lights Astronomical Society for Students (C.L.A.S.S.) [of Plano, Texas] was created to take astronomy into the inner city and to serve the underserved areas of our community. We want to show young people that they have options when it comes to career fields, that they don't have to choose an ordinary career path but can choose a career in Science."
Night Sky Network resources help member clubs expand their outreach efforts and improve their effectiveness. That is why the Aldrich Astronomical Society in Massachusetts applied. "We have been on a path for the last 8 years that has gradually allowed us to expand our outreach program that originally consisted of night sky viewing sessions to programs that we can bring into the classroom during the day."
The Central Appalachian Astronomy Club of West Virginia joined because "As a small club, we have managed to present science programs and offer viewing sessions to schools and organizations that would not otherwise have had the funding for such materials and presentations. We are filling the space science gap, best we can in West Virginia."
Other clubs, like the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers (BBAA) of Virginia see membership in the Night Sky Network as aligning with the club's existing mission. "Our purpose, besides getting together for stargazing, is to educate the public, primarily the youth, on astronomy, space, light pollution, and other pertinent topics."
In their application, the Back Bay club stated that they seek to encourage young people to get excited and involved in science and discovery. They viewed the club's role as helping educate students and the public to convey the social importance and impact of scientific exploration. "We hope we can benefit NASA by communicating to the public what wondrous things are being done."
Equipped with resources provided by the Night Sky Network program, these amateur groups are volunteering their time at events throughout the country and sharing their knowledge to make a difference in the lives of children, minorities and the general public. The Network and materials we provide our member clubs enable each of them to do an even better job of sharing astronomy and hopefully making people see the world in a new light.