World Science Festival Stargaze in New York

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The World Science Festival Stargaze gets underway, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York, May 30, 2015. // all photos by David J. Eicher
What a terrific few days a number of us had in New York last week celebrating the World Science Festival, one of the great science events, that drew something like a quarter-million science enthusiasts to the Big Apple.

Many events took place — I will report on the talks and sessions in the coming days.

For now, let me tell you about the great star party Astronomy magazine held in conjunction with our associates at Celestron, Discover magazine, Scistarter, and the Science Cheerleaders.

On Saturday night, May 30, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people joined us in Brooklyn Bridge Park, under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, opposite downtown Manhattan. The sky was clear, and we had a battery of Celestron telescopes set up, ably represented by Kevin Kawai, Jason Mulek, and Bryana Holcomb. It was my pleasure to hang out with the gang at Celestron, in addition to our own adjacent table, representing Astronomy, Discover, Scistarter, and the Science Cheerleaders.

The Moon over New York City (OK, actually Brooklyn), Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York, May 30, 2015.
Our great friends Al Nagler and Jon Betancourt of Tele Vue were right beside us, with a number of superb refractors.

And spread along the waterfront were more friends — members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, the city’s celebrated astronomy club, led by President Marcelo Cabrera and Vice President Susan Andreoli.

What fun we had!

Time after time, person after person, freaked out when they got their first view through the telescopes. Of course, kids were blown away, whether it was the Moon, the slender crescent of Venus, Jupiter with its Galilean satellites, or the ringed world Saturn. It was incredible to see, for hours, so many people exploding with the sheer joy of discovery when they peered into the eyepiece.

We gave away several hundred copies of Astronomy and our associated booklets, which went very fast.

Hined Rafeh delights kids with magazines, literature, and lots more at the Astronomy/Discover/Scistarter/Science Cheerleaders table, WSF Brooklyn Bridge Park star party, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York, May 30, 2015.
And the Astronomy team was superbly aided by Darlene Cavalier, contributing editor of Discover, founder and head of Scistarter (see their website for a wealth of citizen science projects), and founder and chief of the Science Cheerleaders. Darlene was aided by science cheerleaders and promoters Danielle Olson, Samantha Gromek, and Hined Rafeh (see yesterday’s blog).

And as darkness fell, a great old friend, Corey Powell, rolled by, and we had fun chatting through the night. Corey is editor-at-large of Discover magazine.

All the while, the glistening lights of New York shimmered away on the horizon, the Statue of Liberty visible to the extreme left, One World Trade Center straight across the East River, and the Empire State and Chrysler buildings on the right horizon.

If we had lots of these star parties all over the world, the world would be a very different place!

Thanks to all who helped out with this effort and made it a smashing success. The photos speak for themselves (see them all in our Online Reader Gallery) — we had a deliriously happy crowd, and some very tired but satisfied colleagues by night’s end.

Next year, we hope to be back at the World Science Festival.

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