Glenn Chaple's observing basics: Go public
May 2006: National Astronomy Day brings the hobby to the people.
This year, National Astronomy Day occurs May 6. The theme of this annual cosmic-fest is "Bringing astronomy to the people." Astronomy clubs will host public star parties with that goal in mind. Astronomy Day always falls on the Saturday between mid-April and mid-May that's closest to the First Quarter Moon. What better way to bring astronomy to the people than to transport them telescopically to this rugged, cratered world?
I feel dismayed whenever I learn of a public star party that's held on a moonless night especially if it's being planned for children. Big mistake! The party hosts deprive their audience of arguably the most spectacular telescopic sight the night sky has to offer. I rarely hear someone gasp in awe when viewing the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) through my telescope. But the Moon? Awesome! Fantastic! Wow!