December 23, 2002

Awe by the Hour

Just read about Rent-a-scope, a service that will give you control of a telescope in Arizona for $50 per hour. That wouldn't be bad for an evening's entertainment if one went into it well prepared with a list of targets. I don't know how long it takes to slew from one place to another, but it sounds like fun. Maybe we'll have a sky party here some night from the comfort of our den.

It reminds me of the Telescopes In Education (TIE) project, which was created by Gilbert Clark, who I've met several times at the Thacher School summer workshops. Gil noticed an unused telescope going to waste up on Mount Wilson. By hard work and a lot of evangelism, he's created an opportunity for thousands of kids to be exposed to real science. With most people living in cities with light-polluted skies, programs like this are going to become more and more common.

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