Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - 6

FROM OUR READERS

Astronomy for All
From the Staff of Sky & Telescope: Thank you for all the responses we received to our
editorial " Astronomy for All " (S&T: Oct. 2020, p. 4). Below are some helpful suggestions from readers for how to address the issues discussed in that editorial.

You are correct that there is a limited
number of Black and Spanish-American participants in local astronomy
outreach events. I emphasize children
should attend. They love it. I had one
13-year-old boy shout, " This is the
most exciting night of my life! " Little
girls wear dresses with stars on them.
What a joy to see their enthusiasm.
I highly promote smartphone apps
for astronomy and stargazing. I recommend people not throw away their old
phones but let children use them with
night-sky apps to teach the family
about the heavens. Children do very
well pointing out everything they see
on the app. That gets them involved
in the family and education and gives
them self-esteem.
Irene Baron
Member, Zanesville Astronomy Club
Zanesville, Ohio

Thank you for undertaking " Astronomy for All. " Since 2004, I have been
a volunteer Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Solar System Ambassador and have
experienced many opportunities and
challenges. One particular event recalibrated my entire field of view. During
check-in at a new school where I was to
conduct a daylong series of programs,
the principal and I had a nice chat.
While thanking me and discussing
backgrounds, my military service came
up. When he learned I was a retired
military officer, he immediately said
that many of the boys at his school
lacked role models, and if I was interested, he would be grateful if I would
serve as a mentor. Long story short,
I have visited the school many, many
times and been supportive.
Sometimes we may be called upon
to operate beyond the astronomy/STEM
domain to make a lasting impact,
beyond an episodic star party that
6

FEBRUARY 2 021 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

inspires a young person but leaves them
unequipped to act on their own feelings. Please consider this deeper
engagement aspect of outreach and be
aware of needs where they may exist.
Max Corneau
Former President, Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.), U.S. Army
Rockwall County, Texas

I would suggest contacting community
centers, churches, libraries, community
parks, state parks. That's where people
go. I would like to see articles on Black
astronomers in Sky & Telescope, not just
on your website. Our children need to
learn history. Start with Benjamin Banneker [1731-1806]. The book Hidden
Figures: The Untold True Story of Four
African-American Women Who Helped
Launch Our Nation into Space should be
read by all students in school.
K. Lynn King
Member, Rittenhouse Astronomical Society
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The best time to arouse interest in
astronomy is in early childhood. That
worked with me more than half a
century ago.
Could donating copies of your
magazine to schools that are mostly
attended by Black children be a possibility to help? Additionally, getting
planetariums to donate admission
tickets might help, too.
Federico Cardona
Bermatingen, Germany

I've been in the field for over 20 years
teaching astronomy and how to buy
and use telescopes as a volunteer at
Virginia State Parks. The groups that
come out for our presentations are
evenly diverse, of all races and backgrounds. When someone looks through

our telescopes for the first time and
becomes emotionally engaged, we've
planted that seed of learning.
You need a section in your magazine
for beginners, especially kids. That's
where most of us got started. Also, a
section showing how to put on public
demonstrations. Every year, we offer
programs explaining how to put on an
astronomy event to engage people using
telescopes or to help children make a
home planetarium that actually works!
Hands-on is everything in this hobby,
and every race and background have
joined us in enjoying the beauty of the
night sky. Just as Carl Sagan embraced
Neil deGrasse Tyson when Tyson was 17,
we as amateur astronomers can all do
the same. Keep up the great work!
Kim Kenny
Member, Crewe Astronomy Club
Crewe, Virginia

I live in Revere, Massachusetts, and the
light pollution is terrible. Star hopping to
a target is close to impossible when you
can't even see many stars. I was thinking
about inner-city youth today. What if
one of them, like I did, took an interest
in astronomy and wanted a telescope?
What could Sky & Telescope do for them?
First, make sure your magazine gets
into inner-city public libraries (to both
encourage and feed the interest). Second,
and this is really my suggestion, devote
a page or more in each issue to urban
astronomy. You always devote space to
deep-sky objects (as you should), but if
you want to encourage urban youth to
take up the hobby, it might help to highlight objects available to them.
Dave Malaro
Revere, Massachusetts
Editor's Note: You read our mind! Last

month we launched the column you suggest. It's called Suburban Stargazer and
will appear bimonthly.

I support the magazine's goal to bring
to the forefront the contributions and
spirits of people of color working in
the sciences, mainly astronomy in this
case. I believe your most effective work
must focus on helping young people



Sky & Telescope - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - February 2021

Contents
Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - 1
Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - February 2021 - 3
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