A recent newspaper article promoting an event at the Centre of
the Universe proclaimed that staff from the Dominion Astrological
Observatory would be present, and went on to inform us that the Earth is only
150,000 kilometres from the Sun. Fortunately, the cool temperature that day
reassured me that we were not experiencing the ultimate case of global warming.
Incidents like this, and many casual conversations with our friends and
associates, tell us that ignorance about our hobby, and indeed about the
universe we live in, is rampant. That�s why events such as Astronomy Day
on Saturday May 10 are so important.
RASC members who bring their telescopes or their enthusiasm to Astronomy Day and
to observing sessions at the Centre of the Universe are always struck by the
wonder and enthusiasm of people when they get their first glimpse of the lunar
surface, the rings of Saturn, or a far-off galaxy.
Those experiences give people new knowledge about where they live, and in some
cases, inspires them to join our ranks. Our outreach efforts strike small but
important blows against the low level of astronomical knowledge that leads to
things like excessive street lighting and poor support for astronomical
To keep institutions like the Dominion, er, Astrophysical
Observatory going, people need to know about the importance of the work that is
done there. In the absence of public knowledge and support, politicians won�t
fund such research.
When we go to municipal councils in an effort to halt wasteful and unnecessary
lighting at night, they and the voters who elect them need to know that
astronomy is a great hobby, and that the work amateur and professional
astronomers do contributes to better things right here on Earth.
As we learned again in February, space exploration can be dangerous and
frustrating. The great discoveries made by astronauts and researchers are now
regularly denigrated by nonsense such as the current Moon landing hoax
Events like Astronomy Day give us the opportunity to inform the public about the
importance of astronomy and space. And on top of that, Astronomy Day is lots of
So when Sid Sidhu and Sandy Barta call for volunteers for May 10, please come
and help out. You�ll be glad you did.
Ed: Please call Sid or Sandy to volunteer for Astronomy Day (contact
they will get back to you.