Arrival: First Contact with Grace, and Ideas

First Contact between humanity and an extraterrestrial species has been anticipated and imagined in popular culture for a long time. Sometimes the speculative aliens offer peace and knowledge, like the Vulcans who visit nuclear-war-ravaged earth in Star Trek (portrayed in a film called, suitably enough, First Contact), and sometimes they arrive to blow up the White…

Black Forest Star Party Notes!

I just returned from a wet but spirited Black Forest Star Party at the wonderful Cherry Springs State Park in north-central Pennsylvania. I was one of the event’s speakers and my topic was The Night Sky As Story: Astronomy Outreach with a Purpose. I described my approach to sidewalk astronomy as well as the insights…

Bicycle Astronomy hits Startalk Radio’s Blog!

I’m super excited. I was asked to write a blog post for the blog of Startalk Radio, Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast series. It was about the Bicycle Astronomy project, and how I approach science outreach in general. I was really grateful for the chance be able to make an argument why we need the night…

Two Astrophotos From the Spartan Observatory

The other night I finally got a chance to try a new tool out at the “dark” skies at the Spartan Observatory. Though just north of Geneva city limits, the site’s strength is the near-complete lack of glaring street lights nearby. It’s still close enough to the city, however, that I would anticipate at Bortle…

Bicycle Astronomy Makes a Housecall!

Yesterday was my first day on the Bicycle Astronomy cargo bike in many months. I rode to work and then to the grocery store to reprovision the Spartan Manor travel trailer. When I left the store with three bags of groceries and loaded them into the giant pannier on the cargo bike, it was a…