NY1 and parent company Time Warner Cable continue their partnership with Connect A Million Minds, highlighting education through science, technology, engineering and math. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report on young stargazers who explore the night sky in Chelsea's High Line Park.
Under New York's twinkling sunset sky, children of all ages recently gathered in Chelsea for a closer look at the universe. Ashai Gonzalez, age nine, was surprised to learn she was gazing at more than just stars.
"Venus, it looks tiny. [It looks like] the moon, almost," she said.
The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, which has been active since 1927, transformed a section of the High Line Park into a free observatory, allowing any and all a chance to stargaze and learn some fun, far-out facts about astronomy.
"We talk about things like how long does it take light to get here from that star or from that planet, so you begin to judge distances," said AAA board member Joe Delfausse.
The observation sessions are the only activities the adult member-based group opens up to younger gazers.
One by one, wide-eyed kids and teenagers peered into telescopes to discover the heavens right in their backyard. Along with Venus, they saw the craters on the moon and even Saturn in all its glowing glory.
"It was bright and white and its ring was a line," said one child.
Benjamin Bush, 13, had his sights set on a more familiar object in the sky.
"I most like viewing the close-up bodies like the moon, because they seem to have texture and depth," he said.
Benjamin was accompanied by his parents, who brought their young stargazer in from Brooklyn.
"It's exciting because first of all he's a teenager, he’s getting to the point in his life where he is learning a lot of stuff, including things that we don’t know or things we’ve forgotten," said Sarah Flanagan, Benjamin's mother.
It was also 12-year-old Michell Orellana's first time looking into a telescope. The green Galileo said this experience will help her to become a better science student.
"I think it will help me because now I'm more interested and I’m more intrigued by planets and I want to learn more about them," she said.
For more information on the Amateur Astronomers Association's observing sessions throughout the city, visit www.aaa.org. Details on the group's sessions on the High Line can be found at www.thehighline.org.
To learn more about other activities designed to inspire children in the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math, visit www.connectamillionminds.com.