In partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach put on a trio of stargazing sessions in Brooklyn over spring break. These "star parties" were a complement to another event at BAM on those same nights entitled Planetarium - a musical collaboration between Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens. The three musicians produced an collection of songs by the same name inspired by the Solar System.
We transported four telescopes (three Dobsonians, and a Celestron) from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn and set them up on the roof of the new Fisher Building. Even though it was quite cold and windy, the skies were extremely cooperative, allowing for a full hour of observing on all three nights. Our celestial targets included the Moon, Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and the Mizar-Alcor star system.
Huge thanks to BAM for reaching out to us and to all who attended. Special thanks to all our volunteers - undergraduate: Doug Thornhill; graduate students: Lia Corrales, Ximena Fernandez, Erika Hamden, David Hendel, Duane Lee, Jenna Lemonais, Steven Mohammed, Dan D'Orazio, Adrian Price-Whelan, and Munier Salem; and post-docs: Josh Peek and Matt Turk.
--Summer Ash (Director of Outreach)
(Photo credit: Ed Lefkowicz)