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ASP and Astronomical League Survey Amateur Outreach

Robert Naeye


 

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), in conjunction with the Astronomical League (AL), is conducting a web-based survey of amateur astronomers who do, or want to do, public outreach activities of any kind. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the survey will help the ASP and AL make informed decisions about what kinds of materials or activities might help amateurs do more and better outreach. The survey is part of an NSF planning grant called Amateur Astronomers as Outreach Ambassadors.

"We know that most amateur astronomers concentrate on observing. But many amateurs express their enjoyment of astronomy by helping others enjoy the universe through public star parties, school visits, talks to youth and community groups, and other activities," says ASP Executive Director Mike Bennett, principal investigator for the survey. "We want to hear from any amateur astronomer who has ever done outreach, or who thinks he or she might want to. Eventually, this will lead to improved products and services to help amateur astronomers improve the quality and quantity of their public outreach efforts."

"Hundreds of amateur astronomers in the United States have conducted public outreach to schools, scout groups, churches, and other organizations. Most have never had the benefit of having anyone help them put together a presentation package for outreach activities. The ASP's project will help us provide such assistance," says Barry Beaman, past President of the AL and current AL liaison to the ASP. "My great hope is that this assistance will help not only those already pursuing public outreach, but encourage many others to go out and tell the public about our wonderful universe. The Astronomical League is very pleased to be a part of this important project."

The survey is available through the ASP's website at www.astrosociety.org/education/astronomer-survey.html. It should take about 10 minutes to complete. The ASP expects to make the results of the survey available by late 2002.

 


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