Astronomy Outreach with Kevin Legore

Purpose: Dustin and Tony talk with Kevin Legore, founder of Focus Astronomy, on the many modern ways we can bring astronomy to the masses, and discuss the general current state of astronomy in society.

Kevin Legore:Astronomy promoter and the lead man behind the Focus Astronomy outreach program. Kevin has made it his goal to bring astronomy to as many people as possible, and to live the inspired words of the late, great Carl Sagan.

This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • What it takes to bring astronomy to the masses
  • The current social climate on astronomy
  • The cooperative merits of visual and astrophotography
  • What kind of resources are available when wanting to know more

Notable Quotes:

“A few seconds of looking through a telescope can hook somebody into astronomy.”

“There is some uniqueness about being able to step up to the eyepiece yourself.”

“It’s really interesting how people become a different kind of person when talking about astronomy."

Main Topics:

5:42 -Bringing Astronomy to the People

A big mistake people make when trying to get people interested in astronomy, or really any hobby is making the people go out of their way to experience something they’re not familiar with. The best possible method to get people excited and engaged is to bring astronomy to where they’re at. Kevin brings telescopes and meteorites to schools and community functions, and Dustin brings telescopes to bars, and neither has had an incident to deter them from doing so

12:25 -You Are Interested in Astronomy (Even If You Don’t Know It)

No matter if you’ve looked to the skies through just your eyes, a telescope, or even binoculars, chances are you’re intrigued at least a little by astronomy. A trick to these public events is not just to show people what’s up there in closer detail, but to bring perspective to it all as well. We’re often surprised at just how willing people are to engage with a readily available telescope setup.

20:26 -Getting Into Public Astrophotography

Kevin has recently begun dabbling into astrophotography and getting people engaged in a whole new way. By capturing and publishing monochrome pictures and attaching filters to the scopes, Kevin has been able to highlight the incredible qualities of celestial bodies. Some people like black and white, some people like the portrait, but whatever the product is you’re bound to engage somebody with it.

29:04 -Large-Scale Media Outreach vs Small-Scale Human Interaction

When you’re looking into the telescope, those photons from those targets are almost intended just for you. Visual astronomy brings an intimate connection to the cosmos that massively shared media experiences simply cannot instill in us. Photography adds the element of novelty, of capturing a moment--almost as if saving a piece of the universe in your pocket. Visual and Astrophotography go hand-in-hand but achieve greatly different objectives.

40:00 - How to Get Started with Outreach

While we might have the equipment available to share the astronomy experience, some of us might be interested in really getting that started. Kevin and Dustin give timeless advice for anyone looking to share their experiences on a larger scale.

52:50 -Clubbing with Astronomers

Astronomy clubs are all over the place but, unfortunately, many of them have trouble really getting involved in outreach and making the hobby accessible to the average person. These clubs are most definitely more helpful than online forums, but many people just getting started in the hobby aren’t sure where to look for assistance. Pro tip: steer clear of online forums as a primary source of information and inspiration, and instead take the online advice with a few grains of salt while looking for local astronomy clubs.

Like what you’ve listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below!

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