Last night we had a group of 250 children and their parents from the Manhattan School for Children visit the observatory. After distributing some NASA swag to all of the children in the audience, we got started. We had a thirty-minute talk about what makes asteroids, comets and meteors different from one another, and how you can identify them in the sky. After some great questions from some of the elementary-school students in the audience, we showed a video of a NASA shuttle launch from last year along with footage of the crew aboard the shuttle while it was in orbit.
The second hour was meant to give the children views of the first-quarter Moon, Jupiter, and Albireo through our telescopes. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative, and clouds covered most of the sky. We made the best of the situation with demonstrations of how reflecting telescopes work and views of nearby buildings through our telescopes on the roof and in front of the observatory. At the very end, the Moon peeked through some clouds to give a few remaining attendees views of its craters and mountains.
Thank you to Shakira Castronovo from MSC for helping to organize this event. I invite all the attendees to come to one of our public nights when hopefully the weather will be more cooperative!