by David Letcher, Outreach Chair
The weather has been a “thorn in our sides” during this winter and early spring season of 2017. A star party at one of our regular schools, the Stuart Country Day School was scheduled in January but after 3 postponements they decided to wait until next fall to reschedule. A star party at Hopewell Elementary School was scheduled for March 24th but the NWS forecast was for cloudy weather. It was their annual science night so their side of the night was indoors. But Dave and Jennifer Skitt went there anyway and were able to show the children some sky objects as the students and parents left the building on their way to the parking lot. (The NWS forecast was a false alarm!)
Another star party was scheduled for an “astronomy night” in East Brunswick but was postponed until the fall.
I have been getting a slight increase in the number of requests from scout troops, both cub, boys, and girls. The problems for us is that, on the one hand, some are interested in having a volunteer come to one of their meetings, or on the other, a request to visit the observatory on a Saturday night. I have suggested they attend our weekly open houses as one alternative arrangement.
The latest request is for a volunteer to attend a private birthday party and entertain the guests with possible sky views and astronomy knowledge. This is a new type of request. Director Rex has asked us to express our opinions on whether we should engage in such activities.
I have noticed that, over the recent years, it has become a little more difficult to get members to volunteer for star parties; an issue that should be addressed.
Now that sunset is later in the evening, we won’t get any more school requests. They will start up again in the Fall.