A letter from the Astronomy Foundation

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, December 07, 2012

Dave Eicher
Dear Astronomy Foundation Supporters,

Thank you for all that you do to help the cause of popularizing amateur astronomy.

When Joe Lupica, chairman of the telescope manufacturer Celestron, envisioned the Astronomy Foundation in 2008, he foresaw an organization with broad vision and goals to help bring astronomy to a new generation. Vic Maris, chairman of Stellarvue Telescopes, served ably as the group’s first president, from 2008 until 2011. At that point I was asked to be president of the foundation, and I have enjoyed serving and meeting amateur astronomers young and old from all over the world.

Whatever your age and level of expertise, I encourage you to get involved with the Astronomy Foundation. Hold local star parties. Show a few neighbors the Moon and planets through your scope. Spread knowledge about the foundation’s activities to your astronomy club. Help to get a new generation of kids away from the TV, away from their Xbox controller, and aid them in enjoying the best reality show there is — the universe.

Astronomy is unique among the sciences. It offers the same laboratory, the cosmos, to both professionals in the field and to amateur enthusiasts, too. That enables us, if we can avoid the harsh glare of city lights, to take in the actual live photons from sunlight reflecting off planets, from the newborn stars huddled in clusters in our galaxy, from the soft pastels of giant, distant galaxies.

The coming year of 2013 offers a big opportunity for amateur astronomers to enjoy the sky in a way we haven’t had in years. Two bright comets are coming, the first being Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS), which will be at its brightest in March. The second, Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), will peak in magnitude next November.

Predicting comet magnitudes is a dangerous game, but both should be impressive naked-eye comets. Comet ISON, in particular, could be extraordinarily bright, perhaps even the brightest comet anyone now alive has ever seen.

When you are involved in spreading the joy of astronomy, whether at a big star party or a small neighborhood event, let us at the foundation know about it. We’d love to share stories of your astro-adventures on our Web page (www.astronomyfoundation.org), on the foundation’s Facebook page, and other places, too.

Vice President Karen Jennings is eager to hear from you and to help publicize events and connect amateurs with others. You can contact her at k.jennings@astronomyfoundation.org.

Keep looking up!

Dave Eicher, President
December 2012

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