The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), in conjunction with the
Astronomical League (AL), is conducting a web-based survey of amateur
astronomers who do, or want to do, public outreach activities of any
kind. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the survey will help
the ASP and AL make informed decisions about what kinds of materials or
activities might help amateurs do more and better outreach. The survey
is part of an NSF planning grant called Amateur Astronomers as Outreach

"We know that most amateur astronomers concentrate on observing. But
many amateurs express their enjoyment of astronomy by helping others
enjoy the universe through public star parties, school visits, talks to
youth and community groups, and other activities," says ASP Executive
Director Mike Bennett, principal investigator for the survey. "We want
to hear from any amateur astronomer who has ever done outreach, or who
thinks he or she might want to. Eventually, this will lead to improved
products and services to help amateur astronomers improve the quality
and quantity of their public outreach efforts."

"Hundreds of amateur astronomers in the United States 4b conducted
public outreach to schools, scout groups, churches, and other
organizations. Most have never had the benefit of having anyone help
them put together a presentation package for outreach activities. The
ASP’s project will help us provide such assistance," says Barry Beaman,
past President of the AL and current AL liaison to the ASP. "My great
hope is that this assistance will help not only those already pursuing
public outreach, but encourage many others to go out and tell the public
about our wonderful universe. The Astronomical League is very pleased to
be a part of this important project."

The survey is available through the ASP’s website at

It should take about 10 minutes to complete. The ASP expects to make
the results of the survey available by late 2002.

The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific was founded in 1889
in San Francisco, and is still headquartered there today. The ASP has
since grown into an international society. Its membership is spread over
all 50 states and 70 countries and includes professional and amateur
astronomers, science educators of all levels, and people in the general
public. The ASP publishes the bimonthly Mercury magazine for its
members, a technical journal for professional astronomers, and an
on-line teachers’ newsletter. The ASP also coordinates Project ASTRO, a
national astronomy education program. The Society produces a catalog of
extensive astronomy-related products for educators and the public.

The Astronomical League ( is a non-profit
federation of more than 250 local astronomy societies across the United
States. These organizations, along with Members-at-Large, Patrons, and
Supporting members, form the largest amateur astronomical organization
in the world. The AL’s basic goals are to encourage an interest in
astronomy (and especially amateur astronomy), and to promote astronomy
education and astronomical research throughout the United States. The AL
publishes a quarterly newsletter called The Reflector.