Update, And A New Photos Page

25 01 2012

Check out the new photos page at the top of the site. I’ll be adding photos from recent events as they occur, and will hopefully be paying more attention to maintaining the blog! Astro on the Road has been live and in full swing for many months now, having traveled through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and California. Up next is Texas, and then…. time will tell.

Just today I ran an event in Tucson, Arizona at the Atria Senior Center, a few days after running a similar event at a senior center in San Diego. Expanding my target audience to residents of this type of facility has been at the encouragement of my wife Ayo, and I’ve been loving sharing science with the older generation.

The seniors who have attended Astro on the Road events have been very inquisitive and appreciative, and it’s been great to take senior center programming in a direction that it generally doesn’t travel. I’ll be pursuing this demographic more, and hope to set up an El Paso event tomorrow morning.

Clear skies!

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Reno, NV

27 08 2011

Quick update before bed:

I had a spectacular event in Reno tonight! Lots of people turned out to check out Andromeda, Albireo, the Double Cluster, and Neptune!

Before the event we talked about the Summer Triangle, and I told mythological stories of the relationship between Cygnus, Aquila, and Lyra before showing some objects in those constellations. We then moved on to more viewing and a light introduction to critical thinking and skepticism when an eleven-year-old asked about the impending apocalypse.

A really fun time, and the night sky cooperated!





Posters For Kids, With A Twist

13 08 2011

This evening I ran a “posters for kids” event, where kids received posters comparing telescope photos of the deep sky to similar-looking aerial images of various things on Earth.

People are always skeptical of “free”, and they were right this time: there was a twist! Similar to one of my Moab, UT events, the kids had to answer (correctly or incorrectly) a couple of science questions before they could take home their poster. Questions were age appropriate and most of the kids surprised me with how much they liked science. Hopefully tonight’s experience will kindle that interest.

I didn’t want to leave the kids’ parents hanging, so each parent got a space-themed postcard (passersby received bookmarks). There were about 50 parents who were thrilled that their kids were getting a large, colorful, glossy science poster for their room, and many more curious passersby who picked up bookmarks. The only weird thing of the evening: the two people who point-blank said “I don’t read books” when offered a bookmark.

Fortunately, none of those people were the parents of the scientifically curious kids.





Brief Boulder Update

10 08 2011

As compared to 7pm this evening (it’s now 10pm), in the hands of people in Boulder there are now…

  • 100 more astronomy bookmarks
  • 150 more astronomy postcards
  • 8 more HUGE astronomy posters (most went to kids)
  • 260 more handouts on dark matter and the chemistry of the universe

And based on the many conversations that I had, a lot of excitement about science and astronomy. All that – and there is more space free in the RV.  What could be better!





Update!

7 08 2011

Oh, man. Have I been neglecting this blog…

Fortunately, Astronomy On The Road is still going strong! Events and teaching have been happening across Denver, and I’m currently in Boulder and am working to coordinate an event at the local library this coming week.

Internet on my phone is pretty shaky here, so I hope to share more soon!

Clear skies to all,

Jay





Teaching At Camps

22 07 2011

Man, have I been behind here. Fortunately, however, I haven’t been behind on getting people excited about science.

Recently I’ve been traveling around and giving presentations at summer camps in Colorado. On clear nights the telescope comes out, and on the much-more-frequent cloudy and drizzly nights, cool presentations and discussions are the focus.

Generally, I like to offer a choice one or two of three discussion topics:

  • What happened to Pluto?
  • Mysteries of the solar system
  • How spacesuits keep astronauts safe
Spacesuits and mysteries of the solar system have lately been the two most frequently chosen topics, but Pluto comes out with reasonable frequency as well.
I’ve been leaving camps with huge science posters, which I’ve seen up in dining halls, staff lounges, and camper bunks. I’m definitely enjoying this!
Total served: 700!
posted by yair




Sharing Science On The Fourth Of July – Moab, UT

10 07 2011

Some astronomers jokingly refer to cloudy nights as a “total eclipse of everything,” and Moab, Utah certainly had that on July 4th. That aside, I still pulled off a really fun and successful astronomy event at the town fair.

I brought around science postcards and handouts and hawked them for free, a word that people paying for $2 hot dogs lit up at. Only after handing out the postcards and handouts did I reveal the catch: They have to take a crack at a science question!

Recipients could keep the handouts whether or not they answered correctly, and questions ranged from easy to difficult (people chose their desired difficulty level). Some sample questions:

  • How many planets are in our solar system? (8)
  • What is the name of our galaxy? (Hint: It’s the name of a candy bar. Extra hint: It’s not Mars! Answer: The Milky Way.)
  • How many stars are estimated to be in our galaxy? (100 billion)
  • Is the Moon moving toward us, standing still, or moving away from us? (It’s moving away at a rate of ~1.5 inches per year)
I also left people with handy information on how they can do their own naked-eye observing.

 

Many people said that adding science to their July 4th celebration was one of the highlights of their day, and I got into great in-depth conversations with a handful of interested folks. In all, I went through ten packs of ten postcards each, having a great time in the process.

 

Total number of people scienced-up: 565!