The Event: On Saturday April 13, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York (AAA), in conjunction with the Woodlawn Conservancy, will take a tour of our solar system and universe during its annual Spring Starfest in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Woodlawn Cemetery is a national historic landmark that has commanding open area views, free of glare from local lighting, where the majority of the urban night sky can be seen. There will be telescopes of various magnifications and design, capable of reaching out into the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Come have a look at the universe in The Bronx, easily reachable by public transportation.
The event will begin at 7:00 pm, when trained AAA observers will be setting up their scopes and determining their celestial targets. Guests are welcome to watch this process, and speak with AAA members and supporters about telescopes, astronomical binoculars and solar observing equipment. Click here for directions to observing site.
The People: Just as important as what you will see is who will join you on your journey to the stars. AAA publicly promotes science education and culture throughout the five boroughs. Its goal is to teach, educate, and foster a culture of stargazing and public science engagement. Member observers will take you on your first steps to understanding our cosmos. Those with more advanced knowledge will be able to discuss astronomy with their peers. For kids, astronomy is the gateway to the sciences. Seeing Saturn's rings or Jupiter's moons is a source of wonder and amazement that can dramatically change one’s perspective.
The AAA Spring Starfest strives to plant new seeds of curiosity (much like NASA has planted its Curiosity rover on Mars) — not just about astronomy, but about science, technology, engineering, and math. The supportive environment of this Woodlawn Cemetery event is the perfect venue to meet helpful and friendly people dedicated to sharing what they've learned. Although observing the night sky is the focus of the evening, Starfest is about making new friends and talking to people about new and amazing things.
Each year, this event brings hundreds of New Yorkers together to share the experience of viewing the skies above The Bronx. Intrepid AAA observer teams staff 15 to 20 telescopes and astronomical binoculars of various magnifications.
The Technology: Experience some of the most celebrated equipment in astronomy, Tele Vue Optics telescopes and eyepieces, Celestron NexStars, Orion StarBlasts, SkyProdigys, and more. Learn from and observe AAA members as they program their scopes to point to the cosmos utilizing digital tools such as *Sky Safari*, *Starwalk*, Google *Sky Map*, *Space Map*, there are many excellent apps for phones and tablets alike. Watch as AAA members research targets and scout the sky with the latest software. CCD cameras, DSLRs set to infinity, there are many ways to capture images by letting in starlight. Bring your own equipment and discuss imaging techniques with member photographers.
Our Targets: Our astronomical targets will be both near and far. In our solar system, the cloud bands of Jupiter, its moons, and our Moon will be easily visible. Beyond, we will observe distant galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae. The sky is filled with opportunities each night.
Directions: Enter at the Jerome Ave. entrance located 1 block north of the intersection of Jerome Ave. & Bainbridge Ave.Look for a table staffed by AAA members at the entrance.
About AAA: Founded in 1927, The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York is dedicated to educating residents of the metropolitan area in the science of astronomy. In addition to observing sessions in the boroughs and upstate, AAA sponsors a monthly lecture series, offers astronomy classes and seminars throughout the year, publishes a monthly membership news journal, *Eyepiece*, and provides a wealth of information on its website for current events and astronomical content.
Rain Date: In case of a clouded over sky or rain, Spring Starfest will be held the following weekend, Saturday, April 20th.