Nice to hear that my comrades under the sky are having good weather to enjoy and share the universe with. My fall weather continues to be surprisingly astronomy poor but for our region the moisture and clouds are welcome for other things to other folks. I guess I can't hog the climate here all the time. This Sunday afternoon is rainy and windy with snow piling up in the higher elevations. What to do? How about spending sometime planning outreach activities with the new goodies just arrived from my sponsor NASA Night Sky Network/ Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
I am really grateful to be a part of this with all the various resources at my disposal which make sharing the universe easy and fun. Because of the nature of my outreach (street astronomy) I can not use all of what is in each outreach toolkit but each kit has things that I can incorporate right away. But I am looking and thinking about ways to present more of the materials all the time - more on this later. I want the views through the scope to create an air of curiosity for folks to want to learn more. I want the activities to promote a excitement about looking through the scope too. I certainly do not expect each and every visitor to stay "long" (more than just a look) but I have been able to engage folks in such a way were they stay longer than they expect too!
I am really excited about this activity called "The Incredible TWO-INCH UNIVERSE". Here the entire universe is brought down to a simple mind manageable scales. Imagine holding the Sun, Earth & Moon, along with our Solar System in your hand. How about a whole Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda galaxy spaced about a arms distance apart? Or the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 4 miles away which is depicted on the back of the Cosmic Microwave Background pic. Fun stuff here!!!!!!!!
One of the neat things with this activity is that my more studious visitors will be able to take this with home with them to share with others!
Look at what we got here - the new NSN Space Rocks Toolkit and this is gonna be fun. As I mentioned earlier these kits from the network are loaded with creative presentations and activities that astronomy clubs can use in a variety of settings. Several things will be incorporated soon like the Earth/Moon poster comparative. The moon is seen on the lower right and the Earth poster will be (as standard with the NSN posters) a weather proof plastic roll up 1 meter in size! I should have this by next week. Along with this a nifty Solar System Card Sorting Activity seen in the upper right side which folks can do while waiting to look or as part of a presentation. How much fun is this?
But wait there's more!!!!!! Included in the kit is this hands on "Meteorite or MeteorWrong" activity with a flip book to guide! My visitors can now compare earthy stuff to the real stuff that has fallen from the sky above! For the activities to be effective they need to be guided by a knowledgeable other so............
What is as Sidewalk Guy to do? I can juggle a lot on my outings doing presentations, viewings with challenges, and modeling. But if I am going to move to the next level (which is incorporating more of the NSN activities) I will need some help. I want to have a completely separate activity table manned by a capable individual - me or another. I want a lap top or note pad out there with power points to enhance the experience. Is there a person is out there that has passion to reach folks on a personal level, not just share info but make the universe understandable & personal. One who can be patient as folks look through a scope and work through their misconceptions/misunderstandings about the cosmos. One who can handle SUG's high energy output, constant eating of snacks, and endless banter and desire to push the boundaries of street astronomy!