TAAA activities with the Arizona community!
There are approximately 400 members of TAAA who come from many professions and organizations in Arizona and beyond. The club is entirely volunteer based and our most active members commonly volunteer in many other community organizations promoting astronomy and science outreach. TAAA members provide hundreds of hours of community service from school star parties and classroom activities, private star parties, manning the public observatory at Flandrau Science Center, providing telescopes and astronomy related activities at special events and much more. Many of our members are also active members in other organizations, some of which are listed below…
School & Non-Profit Star Parties
TAAA provides scopes and astronomy mentoring for schools and student groups across Tucson. This is one of the busiest aspects of TAAA’s direct involvement with youth education. TAAA also assists organizing and providing telescopes for the annual Grand Canyon Star Party and the Sharing the Sky Foundation Star Party on the U of A Mall.
Private Star Parties
TAAA will also provide telescopes and astronomy mentoring for private events and conventions in the Tucson area. These activities are a fee based service that is used to generate funding enabling the club to provide services to members and the community.
Night Sky Network Toolkits
TAAA has members trained in the use of several interactive astronomy education units created by NASA’s Night Sky Network. These toolkits are designed to provide participants with a hands-on example of the concept being presented.
The TAAA membership is actively involved with Project Astro schools and assisting teachers with the classroom astronomy units presented via that program. This is a very popular science outreach program in the Tucson schools.
A tight relationship exists between TAAA and The University of Arizona through many departments. While these are not necessarily official functions of TAAA the close association allows for collaboration of resources promoting public astronomy outreach.
Flandrau Science Center
TAAA members have helped keep the Flandrau Science Center observatory (located on the U of A campus) open to the public for many years even while the science center itself was unable to remain open for budget reasons.
This is also known as the “Astronomy Dept” at the U of A. TAAA has many members that are employees at Steward Observatory. Vice-versa many members are able to provide data back to Steward via “citizen science” efforts and skills for special programs like the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center.
Mt. Lemmon Sky Center
The Sky Center is a public outreach program similar to the Flandrau Science Center. The public may sign up for an evening observing the sky with a professional astronomer, using professional equipment from the top of Mt. Lemmon just north of Tucson. TAAA members are frequently recruited for special events or when the program expands.
Other Local Organizations
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
NOAO runs the famous Kitt Peak Observatory southwest of Tucson. TAAA has a similar relationship with NOAO as they do with the U of A. Many members of TAAA are employees at NOAO which allows for some resource coordination and special events planning via TAAA.
International Dark-Sky Association
Many TAAA members are also active members and volunteers with the Tucson based IDA. TAAA has many of the dark-sky educational kits provided by TAAA and our members are often called upon while coordinating volunteer efforts with IDA for local events.
Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The ASP is an enormously important organization for public outreach and astronomy education. Funding and many educational programs for astronomy originate with the ASP. TAAA members are actively involved with ASP and some have been and are currently ASP board members.