I hope the New Year finds you, your family, and friends well. 2002 was a good year for the SJAA. Great attendance at the Houge Park star parties and meetings. Membership is increasing and the ATM class has been a big success.
I feel one of the most important things we do is public outreach and education. As I said the Houge Park parties are well attended but the school star party member turnout is rather light. School star parties bring the love of astronomy to the young people in our communities. The students, usually 4th through 12th grade, and their parents, are introduced to astronomy, many for the first time. School star parties are rewarding and a lot of fun. I get no bigger thrill than hearing the oohs and ahhs of seeing the craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn, or when they spot "E.T." in NGC457.
Some schools are lightly attended by students, parents, and faculty but many are large groups of 200 or more usually combined with some sort of after school program. Many of these nights we are found to be short handed and you can imagine the lines when there are only a few scopes. We have a small core of members that regularly attend these events and Jim Van Nuland does an excellent job of organizing all of them but we need your help. We would like to see more of our members getting involved at these events.
Please take the time to look over the school star party list. Find a school near your home or work and take the time to come out and share your love of astronomy with some future astronomers. You may find it as rewarding an experience as I have.
For more info on the school star party schedule, directions to schools, and "suggestion for astronomers new to school events" see Jim Van Nuland's web page at: http://www.svpal.org/~jvn/index.htm, or contact me at: bhavner at earthlink.net.
January school star party schedule
Jan. 7 Huff Elementary, on Martins Ave E of Grant Road, Mountain View (near Hwy 92 and Hwy 85)
Jan. 13 Steinbeck Elementary, on Steinbeck Drive E of Santa Teresa, SE San Jose.
Jan. 17 Weller School, on Dixon Landing Road E of Arizona, Milpitas
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