Jason Kendall
William Paterson University
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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Star Party with Dr. Michio Kaku
April 19, 2010

In late March of this year, I was contacted by producers of Discovery Channel to put together a star party on a midtown Manhattan rooftop. They were filming an episode of Michou Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible" and wanted an interesting backdrop. I made calls out to the Club and to numerous individuals throughout the community who had telescopes. On April 19, the crew contacted me about a shoot that Dr. Kaku was doing on planets around other stars. Dr. Kaku was going to chat with Dr. R. Paul Butler of Carnegie Institute of Washington. As they discussed the exoplanet 47 Ursae Majoris, a troop of amateurs looked skyward with their telescopes. Both Dr. Kaku and Dr. Butler enjoyed their time with the AAA Club members, and the production staff, too had a great time observing Saturn, low in the Western sky. The people who brought telescopes to the rooftop were Ileana Adamos, Joe Ben-David, Daniel Ben-David, Graeme Birchall, Bill Bradley, Myra and Howard Donowitz, Howard Fink, Julian Gonzales, Gerceida Jones, Maya Kushner, Dr. Don Lubowich of Hofstra Univ., Eileen Thornton Renda, Craig Ross, Craig Sachs, Andre Stevens, Peter Tagatac and Barbara Yoshida.

You may view a clip of the event here: http://science.discovery.com/videos/sci-fi-science-ii-strange-new-world.html The show aired on Wednesday, September 15.

You may also look at pictures from that night here.

About Jason Kendall

I am currently adjunct faculty at William Paterson University teaching astronomy. I hold a Master of Science in Astronomy from New Mexico State University. I am also a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. Since 2008, I have led the Inwood Astronomy Project which brought over 200 events of stargazing and public astronomy outreach to upper Manhattan, including the historic Inwood Star Fest, where Inwood Hill Park lights were turned off as part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event in IYA2009. This was the first time in New York City history when park lights were turned off for an astronomy event. I've also focused on park safety due to an uptick in sexual assaults in Washington Heights and Inwood during 2011. I've worked to make our parks safer by encouraging public use of parks at night through night-time events with Park Rangers. I have led numerous "starwatching parties" and astronomy events in New York City, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. I am also proud to have been part of the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador Program from 2009 to 2012. It all started way back in the fourth grade by the encouragement of two noted astronomers, Charles Schweighauser and Bart Bok. I saw Saturn through Charlie's telescope at then Sangamon State University on a clear Illinois night, and Bart encouraged me under those stars to study hard to come visit him at Kitt Peak National Observatory. I finally did make it down there about a decade after Bart passed away, and I found the favorite spots in Tucson, Arizona, where Bart and his wife Priscilla would spend when they were not gazing at the stars. Bart and his wife were pioneers in the study of the Milky Way, and their studies of the starforming regions called Bok Globules. It's even in my family. My great-grandfather was a Midwestern minister who used to preach his sermons out under the dark, cloudless nights. He always believed that getting out and experiencing the wonders of the natural world was a central part of being human. My family has always been inspired by his words: "We look up to look within." I hope that you'll join me under the stars or at one of my talks.

Come see what's up in the sky!

Jason Kendall

We look up to look within

William Paterson University Department of Physics American Astronomical Society Astronomical Society of the Pacific Amateur Astronomers Association of New York

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