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Archive category: Public programs

April 10, 2008

Silence under the Stars: Connecting with the Universe

"Silence under the Stars:Connecting with the Universe" is a new program of free, public observing at Driftway Observatory introduces two changes in the way we approach the universe. First, we will start each observing period with a period of...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:41 AM
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September 29, 2007

A new visual intimacy – with the universe and others

To understand my enthusiastic reaction to a new, tiny, and inexpensive 2.5-inch LCD video monitor, you have to understand my fundamental goal – helping people connect with the universe. In doing that I have been very suspicious of putting too...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:31 AM
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September 19, 2007

Video, sketching, observing and education

My focus of late has been on how to best integrate video astronomy into my educational programs - and personal observing - so I retain the sense of intimacy - the connections - with the night sky. I'm skeptical of...
Posted by Greg Stone at 07:27 AM
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August 31, 2007

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what I see? That's not a rhetorical question. I really wish someone could give me an answer, but at the same time I'm not sure there is an answer. What I have experienced feels like an extraordinary...
Posted by Greg Stone at 06:24 AM
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July 18, 2007

Serendipitous indeed!

My "Serendipitous Sidewalk Astronomy" episode last night At Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary turned out to be serendipitous for me as well. I like to call what I'm trying to do "planned serendipity.' I understand the contradiction in terms, but the...
Posted by Greg Stone at 07:45 AM
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July 14, 2007

The Perseids August 12, Allens Pond

PERSEIDS UPDATE - MONDAY - AUGUST 13 - 8 PM - As we saw it! Spaceweather,com, which receives reports from around the world. wrote of this year's shower: "Meteor rates were lower than expected, but in recompense the display was...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:33 AM
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June 27, 2007

To track, or not to track, THAT is the question

Well, it's my question, at least for the moment. Last night I did another test run to the Audubon sanctuary, thinking about the type of public programs I might do there and at Horseneck campground. This time I brought an...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:38 AM
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June 26, 2007

A symbiotic southern exposure, new gigs, and some sidewalk astronomy

I've spent a little time lately exploring nearby sites that would give me the good southern exposure I lack at Driftway Observatory. Yesterday I found one that's near perfect, ended up doing a little sidewalk astronomy in the process, and...
Posted by Greg Stone at 06:37 AM
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April 26, 2007

Prime Time - a new venture

What really has me excited now is the pending start of a new venture - a year-long program called:"Prime Time: Observing Through the Astronmical year. " It's promoted on the Free Public Programs page, but the essentials are a small...
Posted by Greg Stone at 12:56 PM
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April 22, 2007

Observing for the blind? We have a lot to learn!

Remember the observing for the blind project? It happened last night. Or rather, it didn’t happen. We were there. Roughly 1,000 people were there. The clouds were there, but we got decent looks at Venus, the Moon, Saturn, and an...
Posted by Greg Stone at 12:44 PM
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April 06, 2007

You gotta be kidding - observing for the blind?

Astronmical observing for the blind? Does that sound like a cruel joke to you? It did to me when I first heard it and before I gave it much thought. Yet a few weeks from now I hope to be...
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:50 AM
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March 30, 2007

It's a full moon! Should you get out there with the werewolves?

The full moon bothers a lot of amateur astronomers and I used to just plain hate it. First, I read too many horror comic books while sitting in the barbershop as a kid, so werewolves do bother me – but...
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:26 AM
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March 28, 2007

Seeing through clouds? Nope. But clouds don’t stop crowds.

I wrote earlier about seeing through clouds with the video camera. Perhaps that post created some misimpressions. Last night I found myself part of a small group trying of ASSNE members to share a slice of the universe with about...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:08 AM
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March 23, 2007

Cubs, the moon, M42, Video, Saturn - parents. . . it all adds up

Had a delightful time observing with three Cub Scouts and their mothers the other night. This is a group that began their four-session observing program last fall and is just now finishing up. It's amazing how cloudy nights, holidays, bitter...
Posted by Greg Stone at 03:28 AM
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March 03, 2007

Simple scopes, simple joys - and Nova Scorpii too

Nova Scorpii - I put it at about 6.8 this morning - but I was using familiar comparison stars that weren't that good for this purpose. All I'm sure of is that it has dropped significantly from my previous observation...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:32 AM
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March 02, 2007

Enrolling now - new, year-long observing program

On April 3, 2007 a new , year-long observing program begins. I'll accept up to eight adults into this program which will meet twice a month and include a mix of lessons, reading, discussions and hands-on/ eyes-on observing. If interested, contact me ASAP at gstone@umassd.edu. If you know someone else who might be interested, please send this to them.
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:36 AM
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October 31, 2006

Messier, mystery, and SWAN and Halloween

Updates: Double-trouble Mystery solved!?! Comet SWAN, toodling through Hercules on its way back out from the sun, presented a wonderful opportunity for education – but then it got zapped by space aliens! Well, maybe not aliens, but help me out...
Posted by Greg Stone at 12:38 AM
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July 02, 2006

Going beyond "wow!"

I was asked to deliver the "mesage" - sermon - at Allen's Neck Friends Meeting Sunday on the broad subject of space. I wrote it out - then delivered as much of it as I could in an informal manner,...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:39 AM
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May 29, 2006

Marginal is good enough, but . . .

Well the Clear Sky Clock can be wrong! It was calling for pretty close to ideal viewing conditions between 9 and midnight last night and they turned out to be marginal at best. As I waited for four visitor’s to...
Posted by Greg Stone at 06:34 AM
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May 24, 2006

Even the best laid plans sometimes go right ;-)

Shortly after 7 am yesterday I sent out a notice to the group planning to visit that night saying “this is going to be an iffy day - right now I expect it to be mostly clear this morning,...
Posted by Greg Stone at 03:23 PM
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May 23, 2006

Twinkle, twinkle little nuclear explosion

I had a father and his10-year-old son come for their first visit to the Observatory yesterday and this time I think I started them off right. I’ve learned a lot during this first year of public observing sessions and...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:10 AM
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March 06, 2006

A lesson in context and framing

Lesson for me, that is, so I can better represent the universe to 8-year-olds. If you were wondering – ok, I know you weren’t – that’s what I was doing at 4 am this morning either huddled in the observatory,...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:24 PM
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January 28, 2006

Do you see what I see!

The Orion Nebula as only Hubble can see it - the image is another reality in itself. “The day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again.” J. Krishnamurti One...
Posted by Greg Stone at 11:05 AM
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December 12, 2005

A morning romp with the Orion 6XT IntelliScope

Shortcuts for this entry: Finder issues and then there's the vertical stop Not Microsoft The Beehive Eskimo Saturn M35 M3 and M51 Scope facts just for the record Hey Scotty, Give me warp .3! Sorry sir, the best we can...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:49 PM
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December 04, 2005

Rethinking and refining equipment choices

I’ve had enough experience with visitors at the observatory to now refine my equipment choices and develop a pattern for the sessions. First, I want to make sure each session at the Observatory involves some naked eye observing, some...
Posted by Greg Stone at 11:03 AM
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Triple, quadruple, and gang - but not in that order

Topics, this post: Pleiades Beta Monoceros Sigma Orionis 4.5-inch Orion Dob Stars tend to hang out together and observing stars that are close to one another offers some special opportunities to make comparisons. On the mornings of December 3 and...
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:23 AM
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November 26, 2005

Cold, cloudy, and confusing – but that’s OK ;-)

Double-star learning opportunity handout – to be read before observing session – and/or after.Download file Double-star field notes document with stars suitable for fall to early winter. Download file Well, I'm learning. I'm learning that my expectations for youth...
Posted by Greg Stone at 01:14 PM
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November 20, 2005

Now this is nice!

Westport Shorelines, a weekly covering the area, devoted two-thirds of their front page this week to an article about Driftway Obseervatory. A good deal of that space was taken by a wonderful picture of one of the Webelo Scouts using...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:35 AM
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November 17, 2005

Observing books, Websites and purchasing resources

Books and web sites to go along with that first telescope purchase. (Note: this ia handout used to supplement talk/demo on purchasing a first telescope.) Magazines Sky and Telescope - http://skyandtelescope.com/ They publish Sky and Telescope magazine, a standard with...
Posted by Greg Stone at 11:35 AM
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Buying your first scope

Note: This is a handout for a talk/demonstration given at the Westport Library November 17, 2005. As such,it is intended as supplementary notes - not a complete article. Six links to a good observing experience Most telescopes do an adequate...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:32 AM
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Earliest evening start times for public observing sessions

Please note: We change the earliest start times every 15 days based on when true darkness begins We can start half an hour earlier if the target is the moon or bright planets Times for March 11 - November 4...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:42 AM
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November 15, 2005

Calendar Nov 14-21 2005

11/14/05 Monday Date 5:15 pm Earliest Lunar and Planetary Observing time 5:45 pm Earliest Star and Deep Sky Object observing time 13 days waxing Age of the Moon Special notes: Mars remains close and presents a disc of about 18...
Posted by Greg Stone at 07:53 PM
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November 08, 2005

Confusion reigns!

Plans go awry! ! Fireflies appear! Success! If I had to write the headlines for last night’s first session under the stars with the Webelo Scouts from New Bedford, they would read like the above. I had great plans –...
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:00 AM
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November 05, 2005

Guided tours - a public program example

Guided tours are shaped to the times and specific wants and needs of the individuals. During the tour participants pack in quite a few experiences - and hear a lot of facts - in a very short time. Because of...
Posted by Greg Stone at 07:11 AM
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October 29, 2005

Purchasing the right first telescope

Almost 50 years ago I bought my first telescope and I made the same mistake then that most people are still making today because unfortunately, there are still a lot of poor choices screaming for attention in local discount stores....
Posted by Greg Stone at 02:04 PM
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October 28, 2005

Switching gears - a blog and an experiential education program

In the past month or so I've made a major switch from lone observing to developing an observing program designed to share my equipment, experience, and knowledge with interested adults and youth. To that end I've been developing a flexible...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:53 AM
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Recent Entries in Rapt in Awe
Silence under the Stars: Connecting with the Universe

A new visual intimacy – with the universe and others

Video, sketching, observing and education

Do you see what I see?

Serendipitous indeed!

The Perseids August 12, Allens Pond

To track, or not to track, THAT is the question

A symbiotic southern exposure, new gigs, and some sidewalk astronomy

Prime Time - a new venture

Observing for the blind? We have a lot to learn!

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Serendipitous Sidewalk Astronomy

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