outreach and enrichment


  • Youth Outreach: Girl Scouts Night Sky badge - Connecticut (upcoming)
  • Youth Outreach: Astronomy presentation and Lunar observing - Connecticut


    • September 26-28, 2008: Connecticut Star Party 18 - Ashford, Connecticut


    • September 14-16, 2007: Connecticut Star Party 17 - Ashford, Connecticut


    • September 22-24, 2006: Connecticut Star Party 16 - Marlborough, Connecticut
    • March 2006: Youth Outreach: Solar system overview and Solar observing, Region 15, CT
    • February 2006: Youth Outreach: Girl Scouts Night Sky badge requirements, Region 15, CT


    • November 2005: Youth Outreach: Solar Observing, Region 15, CT


    • September 10-12, 2004: Connecticut Star Party 14 - Marlborough, Connecticut
    • May 28, 2004: Youth Outreach: Lunar Observing, Region 15, CT
    • May 25, 2004: Youth Outreach: Astronomy overview & Intro to the Constellations, Region 15, CT
    • May 14, 2004: Comet NEAT (C/2001 Q4) and planets (Astronomical Society of New Haven)


    • Monthly Public Nights at Rolnick Observatory, Westport, CT (Westport Astronomical Society)
    • September 2003: Connecticut Star Party 13 - Colebrook, Connecticut
    • Fall 2003: Designed & coordinated after-school-enrichment program for Elementary School in Fairfield, CT
    • Youth Outreach: Astronomy presentation & Star Party, Fairfield, CT


    • Monthly Public Nights at Rolnick Observatory, Westport, CT (Westport Astronomical Society)
    • November 2002: Solar Astronomy Presentation at Rolnick Observatory, Westport, CT
    • September 07-08, 2002: Connecticut Star Party 12 - Colebrook, Connecticut
    • Summer 2002: Solar Observing Sessions for Space Camp at Rolnick Observatory, Westport, CT
    • Youth Outreach: Astronomy presentation and Lunar observing, Fairfield, CT


    • September 2001: Connecticut Star Party 11 - Colebrook, Connecticut
    • Youth Outreach: Astronomy presentation and Lunar observing, Fairfield, CT


    Enrichment Classes

    When I lived in Fairfield, CT, the school PTA asked me to design and coordinate enrichment classes in observational Astronomy:

    Observing the Sun and sunspot sketching

    Did you know that our Sun is a yellow dwarf star that is in a continuous state of transformation? It can be one of the most interesting celestial objects to observe through a telescope! There is always something new to see as we observe the sunspot groups evolve during their westward journey across the Sun's disk. We will use a telescope fitted with a Baader white-light solar filter to safely observe the active regions on the Sun. Some of the features we will observe: sunspot groups, umbrae, penumbrae, faculae, and maybe even a rare white-light solar flare! Accuracy, rather than artistic talent, is all that's needed to sketch your observation of the Sun. 

    Night sky orienteering: identifying stars and constellations

    The starry sky twinkles and shines with countless stars. The Milky Way, a river of blazing Suns, spans the sky overhead in brilliant splendor. Where among these stars is Polaris - the North Star? And where is the constellation Orion? Or the asterism of the Big Dipper? Are you interested in learning how to locate the North Star and recognize some of the major constellations and guide stars? Once you discover how the star patterns resemble animals, people, and objects, navigating your way around the night sky will be fun! 

    Observing Deep-sky Objects: Messier Catalog

    Have you ever wondered what the Andromeda galaxy looked like? Have you heard of the Ring Nebula? These and other deep-sky objects are part of the Messier Catalog: a listing of galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae visible through a telescope or binoculars. Take a tour of these celestial objects and witness first hand the wonders of the universe! 

    Observing the Moon and lunar sketching

    Have you ever wondered about the dark areas and other features of the Moon? 
    Observing the moon is great fun! We will use a telescope to see detailed views of the major lunar features including: craters, maria, highlands, mountains, domes, and ray systems. Artistic skill is not a requirement, just diagram what you see! 

    Equipment: Telescopes, eyepieces, filters, and their usage

    Are you thinking about purchasing equipment for observing the night-sky or Sun? We will explore what type of equipment will best meet your observing requirements before you invest in expensive equipment. You will use a refractor and Dobsonian reflector to become familiar with their motions, pointing and aligning objects in the finderscope and eyepiece, focusing, eye placement, using different eyepieces and magnifying powers, and filter usage. 


    Solar and lunar observers

    • sketch pad or some plain white paper for your sketches
    • 2A, 2B or HB pencils
    • eraser
    • a yellow colored pencil (solar observers only)

    Night sky and Messier observers

    • red beam flashlight
    • planisphere (star wheel) if you have one

    Wear Layers

    Wear layers and dress for 15º cooler than the predicted temperature for the night. Wear insulated shoes, gloves, hat, and scarf in colder weather. 

    Why a “red beam flashlight”?

    To see faint objects through a telescope, your eyes must undergo a process called dark adaptation. This process takes about 30 minutes. White light from flashlights, car headlights, street lights, any light other than red, will destroy your dark adaptation in seconds. You will then have to wait another 30 minutes to become fully dark adapted again. 

    If you don’t have a red beam flashlight, you can convert an old flashlight using one of the following methods to dim and redden the light: 

    • cover the flashlight with one to two layers of red cellophane and fasten the cellophane with a rubber band (do not use too many layers or you will block the light from the flashlight).
    • paint the lens in red nail polish.
    • cut a circular piece out of a red plastic report binder and place it under the lens.