Public Outreach Applications
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Amateur astronomers are amongst the friendliest, most inviting people that I know. They’re always eager to share their passion about the cosmos and what better way than throwing a star party. In the summer time, our local Royal Astronomical Society of Canada chapter (Toronto Center) holds close to a dozen events each month from solar viewing, city planet viewing, countryside deep space viewing and every weekend at the venerable David Dunlap Observatory where people marvel at the fully functional 74″ telescope. The professionals in our club gave us tips but the one I remember best is to always put on a smile, even in the dark. Kids are probably our toughest audience because frankly there has never been a more informed generation in history so they have seen it all. It’s a little hard for them to get excited about fuzzy grey blobs in an eyepiece when they can instantly bring up a glorious full color Hubble image on their smart phones. I once had to talk for over an hour to a large group of young campers but not one of them was bored or restless, and I was smiling a mile wide the whole time. The following are some projects that have direct public outreach applications.