Leading off was the band “@K4” with Japanese Consul General Kanji Yamanouchi on guitar, Tokyo TV anchorwoman Kyoko Komatsuzawa on keyboards, and top executives from Japanese companies in New York. Susan Onuma spoke on behalf of JAA and other groups. AAA’s Tom Haeberle described what we would see in the sky and Masanari Taniai, the cultural attache for the Japanese Consulate in New York, presented the “kamishibai” or story presentation of the Tanabata fable. The Origami Therapy Association helped people make origami and tanzaku, or wishes written on paper, to be hung from bamboo branches.
Thanks to the AAA observers who brought out telescopes, we had at least 8 scopes for viewing by the over 100 people attending. A power outage in midtown Manhattan wasn’t noticed by the festival until people read news alerts later in the evening. Jason Tang recalled thinking the sky looked darker to the south and a few more stars were visible.
And thanks to Yuki Kaneshige from the Consulate, Suki Terada Ports from JAA and John Herrold of the Riverside Park Conservancy for all their help in making the festival possible.
For most of its 25 years in space, the Hubble Space Telescope has been astounding people all around the world with its beautiful images. Its scientific instruments have revolutionized our understanding of the universe and its history. But this is not an article about the Hubble Space Telescope; rather someone we have to thank for clearing the pathway for its success, and many other contributions she has made to NASA and understanding of astronomy.