You are hereInternational Sidewalk Astronomy Night 2008

International Sidewalk Astronomy Night 2008





April 12th 2008 - Columbus Ave & 65th St, New York - Photo by Tom McIntyre


We got lucky in New York City! It had been cloudy and drizzzling all day and things did not look good, so I checked the NOAA website and they showed a band of clear sky about 100 miles wide between the Great Lakes storms and the Virginia storms, and I bet that that band would let us have a few hours of Skywatching. I was right!

I set up the scope aboput 8:00PM on the traffic island between Broadway and Columbus Ave and had a great view of the moon and Saturn. About an hour later, I was joined by Marcelo, the webmaster of our WWW.AAA.ORG website.For those of you in the countryside, you have to understand something: this is a stretch of sidewalk that probably averages 100 people a minute but 99% of them are either in a mad rush to get to a theater or so wrapped up in their own worlds that they hardly notice what's going on around them.

I have to announce, in a positive voice, International Astronomy Night, or Saturn's Rings to get their attention. All in all, we had at least 100 people stop to take a look until the clouds became impossible around 1:00 PM.


by Tom McIntyre




 In Brooklyn (the promenade in the heights) we weren't so lucky.
It was clear to the west all evening but above us the sky went from partly to mostly cloudy. I had the scope on the Moon while it was still twilight. Later I switched to Saturn, but by this time it was in clouds 90% of the time.

Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun. Most people have no idea what the Moon or Saturn look like in a telescope -- some of us think the public has been spoiled by space missions and Hubble but in reality most people who step to take a look are amazed that an "ordinary" telescope can show so much. In spite of the clouds a lot of people saw the Moon and almost all of them were quite excited. It was a lot of fun for everyone.

Richard Rosenberg