Early Fall 2017 – Stargazing Skills Workshop


New telescope owners are often thwarted by the difficulty of operating their telescopes or intimidated by the expanse of the night sky.  In this workshop, we teach you how to use your equipment with confidence, allowing you to to share the night sky with others and experience the immense joy of giving.

Students should already own an astronomical observing kit that includes a telescope, binoculars, mount, tripod and accessories.  Any type or size of scope is okay. This course does not address which telescope to buy.

The class includes two field trips, weather permitting. Students must be able to pack and transport their equipment.

Tuesday, Sept 19 –
  Backward Turns the Night Sky

The sky is the canvas from which we draw our observations. Understanding how daylight and night time occur and their relationship to the seasons are fundamental to knowing what, where, and when different celestial objects are visible.  We cover useful naked eye objects that help us know what’s up in the sky.

Tuesday, Sept 26 – Operating Your Scope with Muscle Memory

To get the most from an observing session, operating your telescope should be second nature.  We go over the anatomy of a telescope kit and learn the value of each of its parts: tripod, mount, telescope, finder scope, eyepieces, filters, binoculars, and other accessories.

Saturday, Sept 30 – Putting It Into Practice: Central Park, Great Lawn

We practice operating our equipment outdoors and experience first-hand the motion and attributes of the night sky.  (Please be flexible on the field trip date since weather can alter our schedule.)

Tuesday, October 3 – Developing Observing Skills & Finding Interesting Objects

Now that we’re familiar with the night sky and have the basic skills to operate our telescopes, we expand our base with more advanced observing techniques.  We discuss the various types of objects that we can observe and build a list of objects suitable for the urban astronomer.

Tuesday, October 10 – Planning a Public Outreach Event
We discuss how to host an observing event for the general public. We describe different event types and their attributes and go over event planning and communication skills.
Saturday, October 14 –  Putting It Into Practice: Field Trip to Harriman State Park

We travel to a dark sky location, which offers greater contrast with deep sky objects. We learn about dark adaptation and operating our scopes in low light, while training our telescopes on galactic and extra-galactic objects.  (Please be flexible on the field trip date since weather can alter our schedule.)


Time:  classes start at 6:30 PM and finish around 8:30 PM.

Location: all classes are held at Cicatelli Center, 505 8th Ave, at 35th St. in Manhattan, 20th Floor.

Instructor: Peter Tagatac

Peter has been an avid amateur astronomer since 2003.  He has logged thousands of hours of astronomical observing with conventional amateur observing equipment, mostly under the urban sky from the public sidewalk. Peter is a board member of the AAA and coordinator for several club public outreach events.