I mentioned it in a previous post, but now I'd like to formally announce the San Jose Astronomical Association's new Mentoring Program - An Introduction to Observational Astronomy. This program, available to SJAA members, has a prime objective of pairing up people new to the hobby with others who have experience to share and can make themselves available to help get the new folks up to speed in a safe and personal environment.
This program covers the following areas:
- how the night sky works,
- the types of objects you can see,
- the types of scopes available to use,
- how how to find objects,
- and many additional topics.
Taking place monthly, the mentoring program provides a crash course designed to get you up to speed in two nights. The first night, held at San Jose's Houge Park on a Friday night, is a hands on personal tour of the gear and the tools so that you know what you're doing. The second night, held at a local, semi dark site, will be spent under the stars, getting some hands on experience practicing chart reading and star hopping skills. You'll be there with someone to guide you and let you ask those seemingly stupid questions (disclaimer: there's no such thing). After the two nights, you should be self sufficient to take it from there, though of course, as an alum, you will always have someone to turn to with questions.
Like I mentioned, this program is available to SJAA members (basic annual membership is only $20), and the SJAA also has a fantastic telescope loaning program in the event you don't have your own scope yet because you don't where to start. It's the perfect combination and a heck of a deal!
Dave Ittner is the brains and the brawn behind this program. He's also the main mentor who's sharing his skills. Members are encouraged to participate, as either a mentee (someone who could use the personal guidance) or a mentor (if you would like to reap the rewards of giving newbies an initial, confidence building boost). For additional information or to join the program please contact Dave Ittner at sjaamentor <at> gmail.com.
Speaking for the SJAA, I am proud to share this new and valuable program to help achieve the organization's mission of educating the public in science and astronomy.
San Jose Astronomical Association