Most of you know that the Astronomy Foundation (AF), the telescope industry trade organization created several years ago, promotes amateur astronomy outreach in a variety of ways. Now it offers two important documents for astronomy clubs and groups to help them put on star parties, whether they be sidewalk star parties right in the hearts of large cities or dedicated dark-sky star parties in rural areas.
One of the foundation’s officers and driving forces, Karen Jennings of Townsend, Delaware, wrote and put together the documents. Karen is the astronomy club committee chair of the AF. Both the Astronomy Foundation’s Sidewalk Astronomy Model and the Astronomy Foundation’s Star Party Model, at two pages and three pages, respectively, will be available as PDF downloads from the Astronomy Foundation website and from the Astronomy Foundation page
The documents offer practical advice on how to best hold outreach star parties to allow more people to see and appreciate the universe in which they live. The documents were largely inspired by Detroit’s multi-organizational “Kensington Astronomy at the Beach,” an annual event that brings together several astronomy clubs to popularize the subject. And thanks to the ever-energetic John Schroer for his help and guidance with tips from that event.
The Sidewalk Astronomy document provides tips on how to plan, host, and promote a sidewalk astronomy event. The Star Party document provides significant guidance on planning a star party, promoting it, and hosting it, with details on day and nighttime programs, creating literature, and activities for kids.
There’s a wealth of useful information here, and amateur astronomers owe Karen a big debt of gratitude for assembling it and making it available.
Now, astronomy clubs and small groups have important resources to help bring the joys of the cosmos to new people, whether it be in the city or under a dark sky. The Astronomy Foundation and Astronomy
magazine, the latter with its Discover the Universe
star party program, want to help clubs and organizations to put on star parties wherever they may be.
For more information, please contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now get out there and start hosting star parties!