Outreach Award FAQs

Frequently-Asked Questions – FAQ’s

Astronomical League’s Astronomy Outreach Awards

1. Do the required hours include set-up and take-down?

Set up and take down time are vital, but they do not count toward the Outreach Award.  Face to face contact is all that counts. Think of this as flight time for astronauts.  Alan Shepherd spent years training and preparing to become one of America’s first seven Mercury astronauts, but his first flight into space was about a 15 minute suborbital flight.  Until he later went to the moon, records gave him only 15 minutes flight time and did not include the years of setting up for the flight. 

2. What about materials we write for outreach? Do they count?

Again… at this time it is face-to-face contact only. We know and realize that many write materials: magazine articles, books, newspaper columns, etc. Posting on social media does a lot to introduce individuals to astronomy, but these awards are focused on the face-to-face events. 

3.  Do online star parties and other online events count meet the face-to-face requirement?

Yes, as long as there is opportunity for interaction.  A recorded online event does not allow that, but many online options do allow for questions and answers and interaction with the participants.  A Zoom meeting would count.  A YouTube video that has been posted and can be viewed at anytime, but without any interaction with the astronomer, would not.  There are many platforms available for online meetings and new ones are being developed.  Feel free to submit these as outreach events as long as there is a way to interact in real time.  

4. How do Presidents sign off for those having met the requirements?

It is best to have the President to send submissions to us via email, but snail-mail is also accepted.  When submitting as an email submission, the club president should include the President’s name, club/society, and contact information. When submitting via snail-mail, the club/society president should include a cover letter with club/society information as well as contact information.

5. Who submits? Me, the club ALCOR, or the club President?

If you are a Member at Large, send directly to us.  If you are a member of a local club and as long as the Club/Society President signs off, any one of the three can submit! 

6. What if the club President is making a submission?

Another club officer, such as the Vice President, should submit as outlined above.  (The certificates include a place for the “Club Representative” to sign, so in the case of the President receiving the award, the Vice President or other member might sign).

7. Is it limited to individuals or can the club also receive the award?

These awards are given only to individuals.

8. Do events for Astronomy Day count or are they in a different category?

As long as the event is face-to-face, Astronomy Day events count!

9. Will there be recognition for each level or just at the Master level? And, what form will the recognition take? For instance the Messier Awards have three levels, Binocular, Standard and Honorary. There are certificates for all three, but pins for only Binocular and Standard.

There is a pin for the first level (Outreach) and the third level (Master Outreach).  Certificates are presented at all three levels (Outreach, Stellar and Master Outreach).

10. Does Outreach have to be done individually or can it be a part of club/society outreach events?

Either way is great! Club/society outreach events are terrific ways to learn from others, as well as a lot of fun and camaraderie.

11. I note a requirement for 5-two hour outreach events in the basic Outreach Award level. Do they have to be exactly two hours?

No.  For the first, basic level of Outreach, the requirement is five different events, with each being a minimum of two hours long.  Beyond that there is no strict minimum of hours per event, but our desire is to avoid submissions that offer “five minutes here and five minutes there” type of outreach. Be reasonable – and if there are any questions email the Outreach Award Coordinator in advance.

12. Can I submit any outreach event I have ever hosted? 

Yes – as long as they take place since this award was established.  Only outreach events conducted from January 1, 2006 will be accepted.  

13.  I understand the program is to introduce young people to the hobby.  What about programs for adults?

Outreach is for ALL ages!  We encourage you to conduct programs for children, youth, adults and the elderly.  Intergenerational events involving families are a great format for outreach events. 

14. I see the first Outreach Award recipients were “honorary.”  How does one earn that level?

You cannot make a submission for receiving the Honorary Outreach Award.  Unlike the other observing programs, including the three levels of the Outreach Award, one does not seek this award, but rather the award seeks the recipient.  The first recipients in this program were given Honorary Outreach Awards for their unique contribution to the promotion of astronomy as a hobby, and in particular for laying the foundation for establishing this program.

Outreach Award Chair:

Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
1281 Serena Drive
Winter Park FL 32798

E-mail:  maynard@pittendreigh.net


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