Astronomy outreach at the Art Festival

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Astronomy outreach at the Art Festival

Unread post by Pete »

While ASSNE has a club events section in Area 51 this is being posted so that non-members may better know about our activity and accessibility.

Barrington Arts Festival outreach - Sunday, 12 Jun 2022

Barrington’s 2022 art festival presented a venue to do outreach as well as to explore the public’s interest in astro images. While we experienced cloud at midday rain held off and we did have sun for the morning and the later part of the afternoon.

40 different images I’d taken over the past 2 years were displayed for sale under a borrowed canopy. $20 – buy 2 get one free. This venue consists of gawkers instead of buyers and they’re not coming for astronomy. Would pictures actually sell? Would folks stop to view the sun?

We were allocated a prime location at the entrance to the event.
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My son Dave with the club PST
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A 4” refractor that Greg Stone had donated to me for class and outreach
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…. and Mark with his sun funnel.
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There were no solar prominences so the PST didn’t contribute all that much to the event. The do-it-yourself-point-and-focus scope got a huge amount of use. Greg will be pleased. The sun funnel setup was highly effective.

While the images were there for sale, one big surprise was the way they integrated into this outreach event. People wanted to know what they were looking at and it afforded a wonderful education experience.
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The back of each image has a full description of the object, and visitors were welcome to take them down and read all about it.
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The festival attendees we interfaced mostly were exposing their children to a new experience. The telescopes and the pictures integrated surprisingly well. We had 100+ outreach visitors.

One really mind boggling thing happened. There was a very young boy who was super interested in astronomy. Only 4 years old but obviously a child genius. He could read and speak at an adult level. He could not only identify just about every object imaged but was able to give a detailed explanation of same. His mom said he learned from YouTube. Although I never do this I gave his mom a standing invitation to bring him to the observatory on nights starting in the fall when it gets dark before his bedtime.

And the answer to the “will they buy” question is yes. As noted above, this crowd is gawkers and not buyers, but 15 astro images sold to parents and grandparents for curious and interested children.
Pete P.
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Apollo XX
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Re: Astronomy outreach at the Art Festival

Unread post by Apollo XX »

Pete, my hat is off to you! You've been prepping for this event for a long time and by the looks of things the execution went wonderfully. Good for you! I'm sure it felt very satisfying to have the people interact so positively with all the different elements of your setup. Congratulations on once again pushing the envelope when it comes to conducting outreach in a unique way and sharing your passion for the cosmos with others!

Mike M.
"The purpose of life is the investigation of the Sun, the Moon, and the heavens." - Anaxagoras
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Re: Astronomy outreach at the Art Festival

Unread post by mark.m »

Thank you, Pete, for organizing this and for documenting it so well with pictures! I had a ball, and really enjoyed talking to all the families that stopped by. Even though it was cloudy through much of the afternoon, there were a bunch of kids who had fun exploring what the telescopes could do while imaging things across the street. We were able to talk about right-side-up and upside-down, and sunspots, and pointing telescopes, and why we can't see stars during the day, and on and on.

Thanks, Pete.
- Mark
Mark M
Portsmouth, RI
Celestron 14" and Meade 10" SCTs
GM2000 (10Micron)
American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) observer code: MMU
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