Night Sky Network Membership Benefits

If you're reading this, you are probably like us: you love doing astronomy outreach! The NASA Night Sky Network (NSN) program started in 2004 to assist clubs with their outreach efforts. Our goal is to help your club in its efforts to bring the wonders of space and NASA science to your community - in more ways  than only providing materials and activities, but of course we do that too!  
 
Upon joining, all NSN clubs are provided a free set of web-based tools to help them manage their volunteers and events, and by extension, their club’s roster, messaging, and general day to day management needs. By using these tools to schedule, publicise, and report on their events, clubs gain access to additional resoucres like outreach toolkits, physical copies of handouts (when available) and even quarterly prizes, chosen by random out of a pool of qualified club events. In addition, by participating in the program, club coordinators can reward their volunteers with annual award pins and certificates of merit - the theme of which changes every year.
toolkit samples
.

The Astronomy Outreach Toolkits are perhaps the most visible feature of NSN membership! These are small, portable "toolkits" filled with simple and effective astronomy outreach resources and activities, designed specifically for use by astronomy clubs in a variety of environments! NSN Toolkits are used at club meetings, public star parties, school, scouts, libraries, and other various events held during day, night, indoor, outdoor - anywhere!  These toolkits are also perfect to break out in case the of a bad spot of weather or other unexpected events. You can also download and use outreach materials from our "Outreach Resources" section: we have presentations and handouts that work well for both virtual and physical events! 

While these toolkits are free to NSN member clubs, they must still be earned: club coordinators are responsible for reporting on a minimum number of their events using the NSN website’s logging system to earn them. Reports are due on a quarterly basis and kits are then shipped out to the clubs that have earned them. 
 

Why are we so focused on receiving event reports from members? When members tell us about their events, that information helps inform us and NASA about the various kinds of outreach that astronomy clubs are performing help us determine what outreach materials are most sucessfull in the field - not to mention, they show the extent of each club's participation in the NSN program.

Outreach Toolkits may be the most famous benefit of NSN membership, but what else do we offer to members? Plenty!
 
preview of DART mission art
.

We offer members-only monthly webinars with NASA scientists working on the latest missions. Members are also offered “enrichment” webinars focused on education and outreach: citizen science participation, inclusive ways to work with young girls and diverse audiences, featured toolkit activities, and shared outreach stories and techniques. While some of these may be streamed to the public via YouTube, NSN members are prioritized during question and answer sessions.
preview of pin
.
One of our favorite traditions are the annual “Outreach & Service Award Pins,” which features fresh designs for every year. Club coordinators can award  their hard-working club members with pins and certificates for all of their hard work in outreach and other services for the club's activities. Every NSN member club that reports on a minimum number of events for the year qualifies for three free pins. Some folks have accrued quite an impressive collection of  pins over the years due to their hard work! 
 
image of a sky map
.

We also offer articles for your club's newsletter! We offer the use of an archive of "perennial" articles, along with fresh monthly content with our "Night Sky Notes" article series, focused primarily on basic stargazing concepts, celestial events, sky maps, along with NASA history and upcoming mission news. 

When available, active clubs also receive printouts from NASA and other science partners, discounts on astronomy magazines, and the ability to request “refresher” materials from toolkits - all offered to clubs with event reports and club contact information is up to date.
folks looking at the sky
photo courtesy EAS/ SJAA/AANC

What else? As stated earlier, our website offers online tools to help astronomy club leaders manage their clubs and events. The NSN website includes the following features:
  • Contact Page with basic club information
  • Event calendar (which you can customize and even embed into your own website) 
  • Club roster management
  • Messaging system for your club and community members
  • RSVP system for events
  • Location mapping and directions
  • Volunteer hour tracker
  • Listing on the Night Sky Network's nationwide map of clubs
  • Database containing your club's history of events, membership, and preferred locations and contacts
silhouettes of astronomers and telescopes at sunset
.
As you may see, there is a whole lot to the Night Sky Network - both the program itself and the website! To help coordinators new and old, we have a frequently updated "Club Coordinator Tips" to help navigate it all. 
photo of a man looking through a telescope in the daytime while others look on
Photo courtesy the Northwoods Explorers of Space and Astronomy/Jim Head

You make this program work! The Night Sky Network is a success only becsause of all the hard work, innobation, and fun that members have contributed to over the years. If this sounds interesting to you, and your club is not yet a member - or even may have been a member in the past, - please get in touch!  Check out our FAQ and Club Coordinator section for more details starting the application - and if you have any questions, please send them to nightskyinfo@astrosociety.org
 
photo of three young people inviting you to come stargaze
Photo courtesy the Brazos Region Astronomy Service Society/Morgan
 
Last Updated: November 29, 2021

logo for Facebooklogo for TwitterLogo for YouTubeLogo for Instagram
Follow us on Facebook Twitter and Instagram for the latest NSN news and outreach photos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for recordings of monthly astronomy webinars and archives of our outreach toolkit demonstration videos.  #NightSkyNetwork #AstronomyOutreach
 
Logo for Night Sky Network featuring child and astronomer observing the skyNight Sky Network (NSN) member clubs are dedicated to bringing the wonders of space and NASA science to folks across the USA.NSN program participation provides clubs with tools and resources to assist in their public outreach. 


 
 
Logo for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The NASA Night Sky Network is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The ASP is a 501c3 non-profit organization advancing science literacy through astronomy.