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This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.
Hi everyone,A few of my friends and I are going to be setting up telescopes at Mill River Park here in Stamford starting at 8:00 PM on Sunday, August 30th. This event is completely free of charge and open to absolutely anyone. We will mostly be showing the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and possibly Mars later in the evening. If you can share this to anyone who might be interested that’d be great as well.
Telescopes will be located at the gravel area on the side of Washington Boulevard. Please try not to park in that area as there isn’t a lot of space for those of us bringing scopes to park.
For those wondering, I am an amateur astronomer and telescope maker and have been featured in TIME, National Geographic and The Guardian for my works. I also write for TelescopicWatch.com, a popular telescope review site.
There will be at least 4 telescopes for everyone to look through, some of which are actually larger and more powerful than the telescopes at the Bowman and Westport Observatories. In addition, as experienced amateur astronomers and space enthusiasts we’re all happy to answer questions about astronomy, space exploration, and choosing a telescope to buy. If Sunday’s event goes well, we will soon be back with more and bigger telescopes, including eventually my almost-complete 24” Dobsonian which will be tied for the second-largest telescope in the state of Connecticut.
You might be wondering – why am I doing this? The answer is simple. Looking through a telescope gives one the opportunity to see wonders that we can hardly contemplate, and places that we came from or may someday go – and in the case of the Moon and Mars, places where our brave astronauts have briefly “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” to set foot upon and in just a few short years will do so once again. So many people have only seen pictures or facsimiles of these wonders on a screen and hardly even contemplated looking up, or have perhaps believed that exploring the universe even by eye is solely the domain of the wealthy or professionals. It is my hope that by showing the wondrous sights of the universe to as many people as possible – with real telescopes and eyepieces, not with software or cameras – that I can change this, and perhaps it will help others better appreciate the fantastic planet and universe around them. It is also my hope that these events can inspire more children to take interest in STEM careers.
For those wondering – we will take all of the necessary COVID precautions just like we would at any normal astronomy club event. You need not worry. This is an informal event not run by any club, but my friends and I want you to have an equally safe and high-quality experience.
“There is a fundamental reason why we look at the sky with wonder and longing—for the same reason that we stand, hour after hour, gazing at the distant swell of the open ocean. There is something like an ancient wisdom, encoded and tucked away in our DNA, that knows its point of origin as surely as a salmon knows its creek. Intellectually, we may not want to return there, but the genes know, and long for their origins—their home in the salty depths. But if the seas are our immediate source, the penultimate source is certainly the heavens… The spectacular truth is—and this is something that your DNA has known all along—the very atoms of your body—the iron, calcium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and on and on—were initially forged in long-dead stars. This is why, when you stand outside under a moonless, country sky, you feel some ineffable tugging at your innards. We are star stuff. Keep looking up.” – Neil DeGrasse Tyson
World news – US – FREE – Moon, Mars, Jupiter, & Saturn through Telescopes