Astronomy magazine has selected the Amateur Observers’ Society of New York (AOS) as the winner of the 2009 Out-of-this-World Award for outstanding programming.
AOS distinguished itself with the wide breadth of its “Reach for the Universe” programs, providing something fun and interesting for everyone. Its events feature more than just beautiful images and demonstrations — they go the extra mile and get the public involved as well. AOS plans to use the award money to update the failing decades-old telescope mount that controls their 14-inch telescope at the Susan F. Rose Observatory. Normally open to the public every clear Saturday night, this resource will soon become unusable without replacement, rendering many of AOS’s events impossible. The group will also install a motorized dome at the observatory, saving the members both valuable time and energy.
“We’re very excited to win this award, and very appreciative,” says the group’s activities director, Linda Prince. She too feels that part of what makes AOS stand out is its considerable outreach. She says it’s thanks to the “many dedicated volunteers, [who work] day, evening, or whatever it is. Thank you so much!”
AOS reaches out to the public with a variety of other events as well. Its children’s workshops offer early opportunities for solar observing; weekly presentations and observing sessions give amateurs a gentle welcome into the hobby; and telescope clinics help current scope owners get the most of their equipment. The variety and depth of AOS’s “Reach for the Universe” programs ensure that anyone who might even be remotely interested in astronomy in the New York area has a place to go, resources to use, and friendly, knowledgeable staff to provide help.
“And we have lots of new activities coming up, too!” says Prince.
Astronomy‘s Out-of-this-world Award typically rewards ongoing programs sponsored by an educational or civic organization. The award recognizes a group’s sustained efforts to involve its local community in the science and hobby of astronomy. AOS is the fourth winner since the award debuted in 2006. Last year’s award went to the Cincinnati Observatory Center, and the 2007 award went to the Aldrich Astronomical Society in Winchendon, Massachusetts. In 2006, Astronomy‘s editors selected Celestial North, Inc., an astronomy club in Freeland, Washington, to win the inaugural award. The winner receives $2,500 from Astronomy magazine.
“Once again this year, we had a very difficult decision to make choosing the winner,” says David J. Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine. “There’s a lot of wonderful outreach going on all over this country, and all over the world, as our international submissions prove. Everyone who entered deserves congratulations and thanks for doing so much to promote the hobby and science of astronomy.”
Visit the Amateur Observers’ Society of New York web site.