Queens and Brooklyn Schools Get AAA Outreach

Two outreach visits in June by AAA members brought the universe to New York City schools through the clubs’ outreach program. On June 5, the first and second grade classes of Q300, a gifted and talented elementary school, welcomed AAA President Peter Tagatac, Stan Honda, and Matthias Schmitt, to their Astoria, Queens campus.

In the school auditorium, Peter presented a slideshow on the solar system from an amateur sstronomer’s perspective and showed the AAA Astrophotography “Best of 2017” video. Meanwhile, Matthias used Peter’s refractor telescope to show those students the moon before it set behind apartment buildings across the street. Stan used his 90mm Maskutov to project an image of the sun on a piece of paper. The classes alternated until a total of 120 students saw the presentation and viewed the moon and sun.

Gwendollyn Gout and Jennifer Anne Kosnik’s first and second graders were patient and attentive as they learned and observed our nearest star and moon. Parents Eileen Yim, Saswat Pattanayak and Wennie Chen helped coordinate the outside viewing. Teacher Lynn Kennedy kept everything on schedule.

A week later Joe Delfause and Stan Honda met 15 students from 6th to 8th grades at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn who were doing year-end two-day program on astronomy. Joe first made a presentation in a classroom for about 30 minutes on the size of the Earth, the moon’s size and orbit, finishing with a demonstration with student volunteers on gravity.

Outside on the school’s terrace Joe set up his Coronado hydrogen alpha solar telescope, Stan set up his scope and a white light solar filter. Students get views of sun through both telescopes, seeing a prominence in Joe’s scope. A popular activity was trying out solar glasses and viewing the sun.

Later that evening Joe took his telescope to the Park Slope neighborhood and met with the class. He reports, “The observing session on Tuesday evening went well. About three parents and ten students showed up. We saw Jupiter and Venus, and I let two of the students take over the task of manually re-pointing my scope. They got the hang of it quickly and appeared to be having a lot of fun. Everybody asked a lot of questions. Some locals stopped to look as well.”