by Ludovico D’Angelo, Director
What does it mean to “do” astronomy? This has been a question posed to me on several occasions. And I have various answers for this. Does doing astronomy mean looking at the stars and planets with your naked eye, a telescope or binoculars? Looking at computer screens full of data? Taking CCD pictures? There are various amount of aptitude and ability on these issues within the amateur community and our club. Some get into this hobby and then find an interesting thing or two to concentrate on like comet hunting or solar observing. Others like to look at objects, take measurements, and analyze the results. I’m a simple guy, so right now, I just like to look, read about what I’m seeing and enjoy the fresh air. Does doing astronomy mean getting together with a group outside to look at the sky or inside to hear a lecture? I think doing astronomy is all of the above. It’s social or non-social; all depending on your personality. It’s also participating in any way possible in conversations, writing, taking pictures, or studying: participation in the great and limitless facets of our universe. It cannot be done all at once. It takes time. It takes patience. I hope you will all participate to the best of your ability.
Along with my simple observations, I also enjoy going out to our public outreach events. Lately I’ve been a little busy so I have not been able to attend some of these. But I know David Letcher, our Outreach Organizer, has been doing a great job. One event coming up will be at Stuart Country Day School in April. On Saturday, May 7th, the Superscience Day at the NJ State Museum and Planetarium will be happening. Every Friday night starting April 1st are public nights at our Simpson Observatory. Of course, as I write this, the forecast is for rain, snow, clouds…. typical.
Last week I was up at Jenny Jump to attend a board meeting of United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey (UACNJ). We are a member club, and we have not had any real representation up there for many years concerning its activities. We also have an observatory there. What I found was a very busy and engaged group of volunteers that are doing many organizational activities to promote astronomy. They have some major astronomical projects going on also. We’ll be talking about this during future club meetings and how we can be more involved with UACNJ. Our observatory there needs some work. The enclosure for our 12” telescope has wood rot in some areas, and it needs a paint job and some maintenance. So I hope we can also organize this in the future.
Our next meeting is in Peyton Hall on Tuesday, April 12th at 8 PM. See you all there!