A Star Party for Your School: Finding an Astronomy Club Near You
One of the most dramatic ways you can help your students appreciate the fascination of astronomy is to offer them a look through a real telescope -- allowing them the same kind of "aha" moment that Galileo had. Alas, most schools cannot afford to have their own telescope, and don't have anyone on the staff who could use or demonstrate one, even if they had it.
However, there are likely to be people in your community who could help you. All around the United States (and the world), astronomy enthusiasts have organized "amateur astronomy clubs" that hold regular meetings, offer star parties (times to go outside to a dark location and bring telescopes), and hold outreach activities for local schools and the public.
Those astronomy clubs that are especially interested in working
with teachers and the public are part of the Night
Sky Network, supported by NASA through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and organized by the Astronomical
Society of the Pacific. The
Night Sky Network is partnering with the producers of 400
Years of the Telescope and selected PBS stations around the country
to offer public events in connection with the show.
To find out more about such events, visit our IYA Calendar page.
Other clubs will be working with a local planetarium (sky
theater) and offering observing sessions during the time that the complementary
planetarium program, Two
Small Pieces of Glass, will be showing. And many clubs are willing,
with enough notice, to send someone to your school to do either a daytime
or evening program for the students who are studying astronomy.
To find an astronomy club near you, please visit these websites: