“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.” – Carl Sagan
Welcome to BrightStar Astronomy!
My name is Teale Britstra, and I’ve had a passion for space science as long as I can remember. In this regard, I don’t think I am alone. I’ve heard numerous stories from people who wished they’d learnt about the universe when they were younger, but for one reason or another, never got around to it. That’s one of the reasons that I formed BrightStar Astronomy.
What do I do?
BrightStar Astronomy is focused on astronomy outreach and education, with the aim of engaging as many people in this exciting field as possible. It gives me the opportunity to involve the general public in a subject that I (and many others) find fascinating, and also to pass on a little of the knowledge that I have acquired over the course of my studies. The great thing is that I can’t ever see myself running out of new and exciting astronomy-related information to pass on!
Of course, the other great aspect of astronomy is the sheer awe and beauty of the cosmos. It never ceases to amaze me how many people have never looked through a telescope at astronomical objects – besides perhaps the Moon. And while typical amateur astronomy equipment ISN’T going to show you the American flags at the Apollo landing sites (sorry – Moon-orbiting satellites actually can though!), sights such as cloud bands on Jupiter, Saturn’s icy rings, and even clusters containing millions of stars can be seen from a typical suburban yard with modest equipment.
I formed BrightStar Astronomy with three main goals in mind:
- Give people an opportunity to experience first hand the wonders of the cosmos,
- Pass on a little of the science behind these objects – but in such a way as to minimise the confusing, technical language, and
- Inspire others to be more engaged with astronomy, and perhaps begin their own personal journey to learn more about the cosmos.
BrightStar Astronomy has achieved these goals through a number of methods, including presentations to schools, businesses and community groups, sidewalk astronomy, and short ‘dark sky’ tours which give participants an opportunity to experience amateur astronomy away from the light pollution associated with the suburbs. I’m also often involved in voluntary astronomy outreach, such as during National Science Week, and occasionally as a guest astronomer during Fraser Cain‘s live Virtual Star Parties (when the equipment works!). I’m also slowly beginning to incorporate some associated skills (night sky photography, video, blog writing, etc.) into my skill-set, and utilizing it wherever possible.