Sometimes doing astronomy related stuff from the warm interior of our home isn’t enough. What to do if we want to meet someone with the same interest in space and astronomy? I asked our panel what events/gatherings they would recommend attending? What’s the best place to meet another like-minded people?
Robert Novella (co-founder and vice-president of New England Skeptical Society, co-host of Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe)
I unfortunately haven’t attended any formal conventions or similar gatherings related to Astronomy. I do, however, recommend finding some trustworthy science news sites (Universe Today, Phys.org, NASA etc) to read up on the latest astronomy news. Many of the science cable channels offer far too many credulous shows but interspersed among them are wonderfully animated documentaries on the latest astronomical thinking hosted by respected astronomers. Also, find a local planetarium and visit often to watch their splendid shows. I frequently go to the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. This is an experience you simply can’t get elsewhere.
Be sure to listen to the Astronomy Cast podcast. Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain make a great team, asking the right questions and offering knowledgeable and detailed answers on many astronomy-related topics. I also recommend Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” blog for accessible and amusing astronomy news and a great community of commenters who are astronomy enthusiasts.
Fraser Cain (publisher at Universetoday.com, co-host of Astronomy Cast)
If you’re interested in astronomy, you should meet up with people in your local area. The best thing to do is seek out your local astronomical society using Google. There’s one in almost every metropolitan area in the world. Find their website, get their schedule of events and show up at their monthly meet ups. You’ll find nothing but welcoming people, glad to share your love of space and astronomy. You can also attend larger regional star parties and meet even more people to hang out with.
You shouldn’t do astronomy alone.