Team Celestron journeyed to the Big Apple and participated in one of the largest outdoor science festivals in the world—the 2013 World Science Festival. People from all walks of life and age groups turned out by the thousands to experience and learn about science in a fun, interactive, and engaging environment. With warm weather and a weekend full of activities, New York City was truly the place to be.
On Saturday, June 1, 2013, the grounds of Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Metro Tech Plaza were transformed into “Innovation Square,” showcasing the latest and greatest innovations in the fields of science and technology. Celestron representatives Lauren Stracner and Kevin Kawai were on hand to demonstrate Celestron’s digital and optical microscopes and conduct solar viewing through specially filtered telescopes. Guests became mesmerized as they inspected circuit boards, fossils, insects, rocks and even the inner workings of a wristwatch with our new InfiniView and Handheld Digital Pro microscopes.
“It’s like opening up an entirely new world,” said one student as she eagerly swapped out a fossil specimen for a pyrite sample.
Meanwhile, just outside our booth, guests were lined up for a peek at our nearest star, the Sun. With safe and specialized solar filters in place, observers were able to view impressive sunspots and active solar prominences.
Later that evening, a huge public star party, “Dance of the Planets,” took place just a few blocks away at Pier 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park. Thousands of guests turned out and converged at the grassy park for an evening of urban stargazing next to the famous Brooklyn Bridge, with magnificent views of Lower Manhattan in the distance. It was one of the biggest star parties in New York City! Many local amateur astronomers were on hand with their personal telescopes to assist at the star party. Celestron’s local dealer, High-Point Scientific, provided CPC 800 and 1100 computerized telescopes for the event which revealed spectacular double stars, globular clusters and even a planetary nebula–all from the city! Of course, Saturn ruled the night sky and thousands of guests caught a view of the ringed planet in all its glory. Who knows how many people, especially children, fell in love with astronomy that evening?
The next morning, the World Science Festival continued at Washington Square Park, where The Ultimate Science Street Fair took place. Thousands of curious and aspiring scientists of all ages came by to learn more about astronomy, energy, insects, math, technology, and the weather. Visitors also had the opportunity to learn about science from noted celebrities from the sports and entertainment world, including Los Angeles Lakers basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. How cool is that? The Celestron booth was again popular as guests learned more about the visible and invisible worlds through our array of microscopes and telescopes.
The World Science Festival proved to be a wonderful avenue to teach the importance of science in our daily lives. Our hats are off to all the industry professionals who shared their love of science in a way that was fun and easy to understand. They proved you can learn and use science every day without actually being a scientist. Of course, there is no telling just how many people became inspired to pursue a science-related career after spending a day or two at the World Science Festival, but sparks were undoubtedly ignited!