Saturday, December 5, 2009

2012 and the end of the IYA

Last night was our last public lecture of the International Year of Astronomy. Cameron Hummels gave a talk on Will the World End in 2012? and the short answer to take away from his lecture was no, it will not. Cameron discussed some of the claims that are floating around about various ways in which the world/civilization could come to an end in 3 years time on December 21, 2012, and then he proceeded to scientifically debunk each claim with solid facts.

Following the lecture, we gave away 2 Galileoscopes as well as a few hundred NASA image posters to audience members. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperative, so we were unable to view the winter sky, but we offered telescope tours of our facilities, and we had several slideshows on astronomical themes. Josh Schroeder discussed stars and their interiors, and then Andrew Brown presented a talk on the skies of the Southern Hemisphere--how they differ from ours and some visual highlights.

Lastly, there was a visiting schoolgroup of 50 middle school students from New Rochelle who had a special private discussion with some of our volunteers as part of the Rooftop Variables project.

All in all the event was our most successful cloudy outreach event with 250 attendees and more than 10 volunteers. Thank you everyone for helping us to close out the International Year of Astronomy with a bang!