SOHO Outreach Spotlight

Previous Outreach Spotlights

This is part of a series of overviews of people and programs that provide outreach experiences to schools or the public at large. We hope our readers will become inspired to try some outreach activities of their own.

Amateur Enthusiast in Colorado Springs

Hi! My name is Alan Gorski. I really enjoy sharing the opportunities to learn about astronomy with our children. I focus on making the classroom visits that I make educational and positive. Most of all, interactive! Using Starry Night Pro software and my 14.5" Dobsonian telescope, I am able to not only answer questions but provide an interactive session with software and telescope. These events occur usually during Space Week and on Astronomy Days that schools have throughout the year in grades 4 thru 12. They are easy to arrange with local schools.

I have a daughter in high school and one in middle school. Since I'm the public relations person for the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, I am frequently contacted to see if our club can host a star party for a school or help with some type of activity that's astronomically related.

I also host Novice Nights for amateur astronomers through my club, the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. At these, I and other experienced members meet quarterly with attendees who would like to learn more about astronomy. This includes having them bring their telescopes to help them setup and use, and learning about navigating your way around the stars, binocular viewing of the sky, or just to coming out and looking at different kinds of scopes that maybe available to someone that doesn't have one.
It's not a "cheap" hobby for me. Because I enjoy it so much, the joy of sharing it with my wife and kids, friends and taking it to others has no price. To see the eyes of the kids light up when they see Saturn is another "WOW!" for me. To hear them "oooooh.. and ahhhh" just makes it worth every penny. I'm asked many times "where's the picture of Saturn in your scope?"

I get a kick out of showing them a mirror that's better than any mirror in their house, I had one kid say "I can see my pores . . . that's nasty!" It's always a joy to hear comments from the kids. Even adults that have had telescopes and never used them leave saying "it does work!"

I've had my telescope only three years. It took me roughly four months to build it after I received the mirror. I've been interested in astronomy since I was a kid. I've only recently begun to explore the opportunities to share my interest. My parents bought me a small refractor that I got to use on the moon and that fascinated me. I was about 9 years old when I got it. I loved to look at the moon!

I myself learn from the kids. When they have questions and I can't answer them, I go get the answers. It's just a lot of fun! When people ask me how much I charge to bring my scope somewhere, I just tell them that as long as they enjoy what they see and have the opportunity, "I've been paid!" I don't need a paycheck to share something fun! As an air traffic controller at the Colorado Springs Airport, I stay busy not only working air traffic but going out and talking to pilot groups and fostering better relationships between pilots and controllers, answering questions, and just helping the system be a better place to fly. I also get to show some pictures of my telescope and answer questions about green lasers that astronomers use.

I have a white light filter made from Bader material that I shaped around some cardboard - the price was very reasonable. I have just begun to explore the educational opportunities with SOHO images and resources and hope to become more involved and promote this information/knowledge.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACTIVITIES: If you use our SOHO images or movies, provide outreach and programs in the area of solar study, and would like to be considered for our Outreach Spotlight section, write to steele.hill[at] with a brief overview of your efforts. If we think you'd make a good candidate, we will contact you.

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Last modification: August 31, 2005
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