I was very impressed with the attendance at the SkyWatch Lecture "Curiosity on Mars: Roving the Red Planet". Seeing pictures taken only the day before was astonishing. The speaker, Laurie Leshin, did an outstanding job!
Years into my teaching I saw a brief presentation about Dudley Observatory and their outreach program, "Rising Star Internship". Once I was accepted to this program I worked with other teachers to assemble my own telescope. This immediate "hands-on" involvement made be familiar with the telescope and how it works. I teach in a small, rural school district. The telescope I received from Dudley has allowed me to be active with my school district. I have been to a number of homes in the community to teach small groups of students about the planets, stars and telescopes. From Dudley, I also received background information and reference material to help guide me in my education. Dudley has given me the tools with which to work on the New York State and National Science Standards. Through my work with the Dudley Observatory many more children and adults have experienced the night sky.
I had a very positive experience working with Dudley’s archives. Arguably, Dudley is as much about history as it is astronomy. I realized its rich past upon probing various documents. For instance, director Curtis Hemenway proved a pioneer with his experiments in micrometeorites during the 1960s and 1970s. In addition, I received a glimpse into the inner workings of the board through minutes of meetings. Each board member possessed his/her ideas over the Observatory’s direction. On a final note, my time at Dudley allowed me to directly apply my studies in history and archives.
DUdley Observatory is a great public institution in New York's capital district. THough there has not been an actual observatory for many years, Dudley has been holding public events introducing people to the night sky; training Rising Star interns, their parents and teachers, to use telescopes and show things at public events; sponsoring lectures by knowledgeable speakers and authors; and generally keeping astronomy, its uses, and its history, alive and growing. It was great fun to be part of the recreation of a historic group photograph during their anniversary a couple of years ago. Author Dava Sobel was the guest of honor.
My experience with the people here, while fairly limited, was extremely positive. all of them were always willing to help with any problem and very interested in trying to enrich the experience of volunteering; I got the feeling that they did a great deal more for me than I did for them. I never participated directly in any of their events, so I can't comment on that, but with that group of people I can't imagine it could be anything but spectacular.
The Dudley Observeratory have become much more active in promoting Astronomy in recent years by hosting public outreach event and more recently, the yearly lecture series which I find extremely informative. I've assisted at some of their programs and am amazed at the interest and results they are getting. They are definitely an asset in this neck of the woods.
The Dudley Observatory has served as a model in the community in its science and astronomy outreach. The Observatory manages a fulfilling annual internship program and coordinates lecture series and astronomy educational events. If there is an astronomy event scheduled in the area, you can always count on a Dudley representative to be there with a telescope and educational materials.
Dudley's collection of historic books and astronomical artifacts is impressive, as are its education and outreach activities, at both the professional and amateur levels. Especially exciting is Dudley's role in bringing the excitement of science to the public. Dudley's vision says it all: The Dudley Observatory, chartered by the State of New York in 1852, is the oldest independent organization in the country supporting research and education in astronomy and the history of astronomy. Our vision is to be a nationally recognized center for educational outreach and historical research in astronomy that is vibrant and expanding its impact, programming, and resources through both its own unique efforts and partnerships with other leading organizations.
Dudley has several interesting and important roles in astronomy and our society. It is an historical observatory with world class contributions. It an the repository of several historical telescopes and several ultra-precise mechanical clocks. In addition it has a modern role of bringing modern astronomy to the public, and another in inspiring middle and high school children to enjoy science through the excitement of direct observation of the skies, and of rapidly-movbing modern astronomy. Its board members and staff are excellent and devoted individuals.