Public Telescope Viewing
I believe that everybody should have the chance to get a close-up look of the Moon and the planets with a telescope. I reject the idea that this should be reserved for people with the means to get outside of the bright city lights.
Yes, it's true: the night sky is not ideal in the middle of a light-polluted city, but there's still a lot to see. More than you might think.
This is why I bring my telescope into the street for everybody who stops by to take a look. And most who do are blown away when they do.
What Can You See?
The obvious one: the Moon. But if you've never the Moon with a telescope, you'll be surprised at how much detail you can see. Audible gasps and expletives are usually heard among first-timers.
Now for the not-so-obvious: you can see the planets.
Many people are surprised to hear this, but it's true! You can even see them with the naked eye once you know where to look (even in the middle of the city). The surprise really ramps up once we point the telescope towards them.
Catch a glimpse of Venus and Mars. See the four large moons of Jupiter. The rings of Saturn (yes, really!)
Take Your Own Photo
We live in a lucky time: most of us carry supercomputers in our pockets that take excellent photos.
After taking a look at the Moon, you can take home your very own photo of it. I have a nifty little adapter that lets you snap your smartphone onto the telescope and take a snap (or if it's not too busy, a video of the Moon moving through the sky).
And don't think you need the latest phone. Here's the Moon taken with a 3-year-old iPhone in summer 2018:
However, donations are greatly appreciated. After doing this throughout spring, summer, and fall 2018, the feedback I received knew I was doing something right.
Most people said that this was the first time they had ever looked through a telescope. Even more said they had no idea that you could see the planets with a telescope in a city like Montréal, much less with the naked eye.
And parents have told me this has got their kids excited about space and science. That feels incredible to hear.
I'd like to keep this going and every donation helps.
Most times, I am located the in the newly-created park on Mont-Royal Avenue beside the Intermarché (962 Mont-Royal Ave Est).
If I do a different location, the event will have a map saying so.
This is open to people of all ages and skill levels. No prior astronomy knowledge necessary.