Hi, I’m Bill! In 2017, I brought my telescope to one of Philadelphia’s most crowded and light polluted street corners. What happened next changed my life forever! Someone asked to look and said “WOW! I’ve never seen that before!!!” Then another person wanted to see, then another, and it’s been that way ever since.
Today I teach other people how to become street astronomers. Street Astronomy is the act of bringing your telescope to a public place to show people what the rest of the Universe looks like. It’s a simple concept with a big impact. Why? 99% of people have never used a telescope before. In a world surrounded by lights, we’ve lost touch with the night sky.
Street Astronomy was popularized by a monk named John Dobson. In the 1930s, after working as a chemist on the Manhattan project, Dobson joined a monastery. He was given the task of combining the Vedas, their sacred text, with the discoveries of modern astronomy: the ideas that there were billions of galaxies and that the Universe is expanding. Dobson decided that first he should have a look for himself. When he succeeded in building a new kind of telescope out of garden equipment, he took one look at the moon’s craters and thought “Holy Cow, everyone needs to see this.”
He started sneaking out of the monastery to bring his telescope to a streetcorner in Sacramento. Unfortunately, the other monks didn’t believe that was what he was doing at night, so they kicked him out of the monastery, and he founded the Sidewalk Astronomers.
Today, the world needs a new generation of street astronomers. Do you want to join us? We have groups in Philadelphia, Brussels, and Berlin. We can help you find equipment, teach you how to use a telescope, and help you to share the views with others.
If we want to see the Milky Way again from the city center, we must first remind people that the night sky still exists. Come learn with us on this journey to reconnect the city ot the night sky, and to fight light pollution.