Austin Astronomical Society exists to secure the pleasures and benefits of an association of persons interested in amateur astronomy and space science, to engage in continuing education of Society members in the areas of amateur astronomy and space science and to educate members of the general public interested in amateur astronomy and space science.
Visitor count to the Eagle Eye Observatory was up roughly 28% year over year to over 6,000 visitors per year.
We have added Girlstart's monthly Starry Nights event to the calendar of regular events at which our members conduct public outreach and education. We are adding UT Austin's Girl Day as a high profile STEM-related activity we will participate in. We have established collaborative relationships with area STEM consortia, and have joined NASA Texas Space Grant Consortia. We will again be a donor and provide volunteers to the Texas Night Sky Festival in support of preservation of Central Texas' dark skies.
Impact StatementSince 1969, Austin Astronomical Society has championed amateur astronomy as a family-friendly hobby through membership services and outreach activities to the general public. The Society holds numerous star parties in the Austin Metro area, including its annual Austin Under the Stars event held at St. Stephen's Episcopal School, and the annual Central Texas Star Party. The Society operates a dark-skies observatory in conjunction with Canyon of the Eagles Resort near Burnet, Texas. The Society holds educational meetings monthly that are open to members and to the general public. Thousands of Austinites have experienced their first views of the cosmos at AAS-sponsored events. We collaborate with other area organizations including UT Austin, Wild Basin Preserve, Girlstart, and many public, charter and home schools. Members can participate in structured viewing activities through our membership in The Astronomical League and follow science news on our Facebook page. Our membership includes amateurs of all interests, from visual observers, sketch artists, astrophotographers and artists who use astrophotography as their medium, educators and others. Our membership is concentrated in the Greater Austin Metro area, including Travis, Hays, Burnet and Williamson Counties; but we have members throughout the state, the US and abroad.
Needs StatementAAS is requesting your contributions in 2017 to support our daytime outreach activities. We have found that many events cannot be scheduled late enough to enjoy night-time observing. The United States will also experience a total solar eclipse in August of this year. Although Texas is not in the path of totality, there will be a growing public awareness and interest in the eclipse during the course of the year.
We are seeking to fund acquisition of a third solar telescope, eyepieces and filters, to enhance our daytime outreach activities. We are also seeking to purchase several thousand inexpensive sets of solar observing glasses for free distribution to kids and families. Along with instruction in safe solar observing, these glasses will help ready our community for viewing of the partial eclipse that will be observable in Texas.
AAS relies upon educators, scientists and experts to prepare topical presentations at our monthly General Assembly meetings, which are open to the public. Topics include space science, educational outreach, surveys of cosmological research, protection from light pollution and preservation of dark night skies.
AAS has regular need for volunteers to assist with web administration, care and maintenance of our library of telescopes and equipment, as well as with legal and financial matters. Also, we could use videographers, event planners, publicity and social media resources to assist us.