Seeing Stars in New York City – Kailath

The Amateur Astronomers Association, or AAA, meets regularly in and around New York City. This Fall, the star enthusiasts are upping their visibility—not with high-powered lenses, but with strategic star-gazing locations like Lincoln Center and the High Line, where they hope to attract new members into the fold. Don’t call it “guerrilla marketing,” though; the AAA obtained permission from both spaces before setting up camp.

1. The Amateur Astronomers Association sets up at Lincoln Center at dusk.

2. Two members of the Amateur Astronomers Association discuss their muse, the moon.

3. Jordan Kushner fine-tunes the focus of his 80x-magnification telescope.

4. The Amateur Astronomers Association timed their stargazing to coincide with the intermission of the night’s Metropolitan Opera program. As patrons stream out for their 20 minute break, the AAA is waiting and ready to engage them.

5. Jordan Kushner invites a curious passerby to take a more comfortable seat. “We call that ‘laptop astronomy,’ he says. “Will you send me that picture? Just don’t tell my wife.”

6. Capturing the telescope’s image is a common instinct. “It usually takes them about five minutes to line up their iPhone lens,” says AAA member Joe Delfausse.

7. One photographer was more successful.

8. At the High Line, Carey Horwitz points out that while Saturn, the night’s big prize, has slipped behind clouds, Venus is still visible to even the naked eye.

9. Venus looks even clearer through Carey Horwitz’s 30x magnification telescope, however.

10. Scores of passersby were intrigued by the telescopes, and waited up to 15 mins for their chance to take a peek.

11. A young visitor gets a close-up view of Venus. “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” he exclaims.