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!
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.
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 Observatory is an organization that works towards providing education about astronomy and the history of astronomy. Its focus is on astronomy that is accessible to all, which is why instead of a physical "observatory" with a turret, Dudley has started the Rising Star Internship Program. I personally became involved with the Dudley Observatory by participating in this program, in which 8-inch telescopes (which are big enough to make out Saturn's rings and Jupiter's moons) are given out to high school students and educators who are taught how to use them. These students and educators then use the telescopes (which are theres to keep) to attend public observing events and show celestial targets to the public. The telescopes are highly mobile and we have taken them everywhere from Saratoga State Park to SPAC to the streets of Schenectady to show off and teach about the heavens. Some other programs Dudley has been involved in are a variable star research project, an astrophotography program, lectures by astronomers and researchers in related fields, public observing events, and school presentations. Dudley's mission is get people excited about astronomy, about its history, and about science in general. It has had an amazing impact on everyone who has ever volunteered for it, attended one of its programs, or even just taken their first look at Saturn'
It is an honor to speak to the many activities that the Dudley Observatory offers to people of all ages. I am so very impressed with the dedication (matched by no other) of the staff and volunteers to develop programs and bring the wonders of the universe to all of us. There are outstanding educational programs and a superb lecture series that allows us to see these wonderful scientists in action. The Rising Star Program actually gives a telescope to those accepted and allows the recipients ( both teachers and students alike) to augment their knowledge base and then pass that knowledge to others. Just check it out, go to the Dudley Observatory website and you will be very impressed!
Dudley Observatory has tought me values about lfe and what I want to do with my future. Some nights we were in SPAC showing the public practically anything they wanted see through our telescopes and some nights we were setting up tables at various locations with packets of information about getting started with astronomy. I have had people go up to me while I volunteered with Dudley and told me how much my telescope has changed their life. If I didn't live almost 2 hours away, Id be volunteering with Dudley as much as possible.