“What an experience! Stargazing with 5000 of your closest friends interested in astronomy in New York City.”
It’s one thing to say you had a chance to do some astronomy in Battery Park, New York City, but another to say you did it with 100 other telescopes on hand, a tennis court sized James Webb telescope model just feet away, and a host of top shelf participants talking about science and space. Wow! It was a non-stop night of questions from hundreds of people from in and around New York City about telescopes, the stars and planets, and the future of space exploration.
The weather was in the mid 80’s and the humidity was better than 70%, but that did not keep the people away From the City to the Stars, Star Gazing with the Web Telescope. Unfortunately it also did not stop the overcast skies that plagued us throughout the event. We actually saw a brief glimmer of Venus early on in the evening, and a fleeting flash of light in the sky which turned out to be the star Arcturus.
Astronomical Society Of New Haven members, who claimed a patch of ground near a ten foot blow up projection screen showing videos throughout the event were, President Greg Barker and his wife Cheryl, Allan Sacharow, Bob Crelin, and myself.
It was the largest sidewalk/subway/bike path/National Park astronomy get together that I have ever, and probably will ever get to be a part of, never mind having Lady Liberty watching you all the time. Quite the experience!
Here are some questions that people asked me that were…lets say, a little out of the relm of what we are usually asked.
Question 1 – ” Is there really a Milkyway way? The most I have ever seen is a few bright stars.”
Question 2 – “What kind of telescope should I get to look at planets, and neighboring apartments?”
Question 3 – “Will the sky look any darker if I went to Queens?”
Question 4 – “Will it take longer than a few nights to learn were all the stars are?”
Question 5 – “These telescopes are all pretty nice. I have $25,000 to spend. What can I get?”
Here are a couple of pictures I took of the event.
Here is where we all set up our scopes, on the path to the Webb Telescopes.
Jessica Stewart a journalist for scriptphd.com gets the drop on CtCameraEye while doing an interview with Greg Barker, and Alan Sacharow. Thanks for the press exposure Jessica!
At the height of the evenings activites a host of speakers talked to the over flowing crowd. They included Heidi Hammel, a noted planetary scientist, Astronaut John Grunsfield, John Mather, a Nobel Laureate in cosmology, Miles O’Brien a CNN broadcast space news veteran, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium.
Here is image of the Webb Telescope with observers all around it.
Did you ever observe under these conditions? New York City Astronomers do it all the time!
Neil deGrasse Tyson interacts with the crowd of observers after his speaking engagment.
Hats off the the World Science Festival for hosting this unique oppertunity, and a special thanks to Bob Moore of the Rockland, NY Astronomy Club who sent out an invitiation to participate in the activites.