Indian Mills Elementary School to host Astronomy Night

Indian Mills Elementary School

Astronomy is the oldest of the natural sciences.

Indian Mills Elementary School students and members of the Shamong community are invited to join teacher Karen Clementi and astronomer Bernie Hosko as they host a night dedicated to this ancient science on Dec. 4 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

“(Astronomy Night) is a chance for guests to see what is ‘up there’ and perhaps spark an interest in astronomy, which is a fascinating hobby and pastime,” Hosko said.

“I just want families to have fun learning. You never know who may become passionate after looking up!” Clementi said.

Hosko described the night as a valuable experience of nature out of the mainstream.

The promoting of the sciences has become increasingly appropriate with the recent push to involve students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Clementi, who has been in the Indian Mills School System for more than 20 years, met Hosko about 10 years back at a workshop at Raritan Valley Community College called “Project Astro Nova.” The goal of the project was to match teachers with an amateur astronomer in their area.

“I won the lottery of Project Astro Nova by being paired up with Mr. Bernie Hosko,” Clementi said. “He has such a passion for astronomy, which he enthusiastically shares with the students.”

Hosko has planned and organized hundreds of star watches.

Their first astronomy night together was actually during an eclipse. CBS was in attendance and broadcast pieces of the event on the news.

The group plans to kick off the night with a PowerPoint presentation to overview the details of the event. There will then be a laser tour of the evening sky, constellations, bright stars and any bright satellite passes. There will also be a general observation of winter objects M31 Great Galaxy in Andromeda, Double Cluster in Perseus, M57 Ring Nebula, NGC 457 ET Cluster, M15 Globular Cluster in Pegasus and many more objects.

Amateur astronomers will be coming out to this event and volunteering their time and equipment so guests can enjoy the wonders of the night sky.

This is all in an effort to make the occasion more interactive, as students are encouraged to walk around and use the astronomers’ equipment.

“The volunteer astronomers are extremely generous sharing their expensive equipment. They have such an expertise and such a willingness to share,” Clementi said. “It’s always rewarding to hear the kids’ comments and watch them run to the next telescope.”

All community members are encouraged to drop by whenever they can, as there are no strict scheduled times.

NJEA’s Project Pride will be lending a helping hand by providing hot drinks and snacks for the volunteer astronomers.

Don’t forget to dress warmly.Indian Mills Elementary School to host Astronomy Night