New York 20th Anniversary Starfest a great success!

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Telescopes in Central Park revealed the Moon and an array of bright deep-sky objects during the night. // David J. Eicher
On Saturday evening, October 17, I was delighted to be a special guest at the 20th anniversary Starfest, a huge urban star party put on by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA). The AAA is the nation’s largest astronomy club and, led by their energetic president, Marcelo Cabrera, they do a fantastic and nearly nonstop job of putting on numerous outreach events, showing the wonders of the universe to the public.

For 20 years now, the AAA has hosted a great public stargaze in Sheep Meadow, east of 67th Street and Central Park West, in Central Park. The first time I attended one of these events, I have to say, I was blown away by the extent of what could be seen in a telescope from midtown Manhattan. Despite the light pollution, deep-sky objects like the Andromeda Galaxy and the Double Cluster looked great! And of course many of the hundreds of visitors who washed in and out of the meadow during the evening saw the Moon. Numerous kids had great views that may inspire them to get into astronomy in later years.

I was privileged to speak to the audience for a short time, repeating some of the big science ideas we’re witnessing in astronomy from my detailed lecture of the night before. Al Nagler of Tele Vue Optics also spoke to the crowd about his illustrious career in optics, and filmmaker David Gaynes provided a showing of his film “Saving Hubble.”

The night was chilly, no doubt, but I reassured the crowd by letting them know that it was much colder yet on Mars.

We had a wonderful time and no doubt inspired many people to awaken their interest and point their attention toward the heavens.

What a glorious night in New York!

For more information on the AAA, check it out here.

For all images from the trip, visit the Online Reader Gallery.

Follow Dave Eicher on Twitter: @deicherstar

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