From the September 2018 issue

Big city scopes

Join the grass-roots #popscope movement to bring stargazing to metropolitan areas all over the world.
By | Published: September 26, 2018 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

Urban astronomy. Now there’s an oxymoron! Light pollution. Limited open space. Why would anyone bother to set up a telescope in places like New York City, Philadelphia, or Boston? Everyone knows the night sky is a playground exclusively for folks in suburban and rural locales.

Fortunately for city dwellers, there are dedicated souls who do what they can to bring astronomy to metropolitan areas. In the 1970s, John Dobson and the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers routinely set up telescopes at strategic spots in the Bay Area and treated the locals to views of the night sky. For decades, Herman Heyn has put on one-man star parties in Baltimore. Dobson’s and Heyn’s urban outreach efforts are mentioned in my October 2010 column “Creating a community.”

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