Stargazing Adventures Programs
… bringing the night sky
instruction by astronomer, author, and TV personality John
John offers stargazing
programs for individuals, small groups, and the public.
Individual Night Sky
constellation & star
identification / how to use your telescope
Learn about the wonderful night sky
(photo copyright Dennis Mammana, dennismammana.com)
You can "rent" John for an hour or more
to get a customized tour of the night sky or
instruction on how to use your telescope (or both).
John will customize the stargazing session to meet
your needs. Do you wish to learn the constellations?
To know about movements in the sky? To better
understand meteors and meteor showers? Or just to
learn about the wonders of the beautiful dark night
sky overhead? John will provide individual or small
group instruction under the night sky, tailored for
you and your guests.
John is familiar with most telescopes
and can assist you in learning how to operate yours.
If you have a telescope that is going unused or
under-used, John can help you learn how to operate it
safely and properly with hints on how to point it and
what to look at. He can troubleshoot defective
telescopes but cannot repair them. He can recommend
additional eyepieces and accessories to make your
telescope operate more efficiently.
$35 / hour for 1 or 2 persons
$10 / hour each additional person
with telescope add $100
Group Star Parties with a Telescope
This is a perfect activity to cap a birthday party or
other special event, and it will make for a very memorable
John's computerized and motorized 8-inch
Maksutov telescope ready for a night of observing.
John loves to talk about the sky and to
interpret its wonders. He's done this for over 50 years,
both as a hobby and professionally, and very few people do
it better. John points out constellations and bright
stars, whichever planets are visible, and the Milky Way
with his green laser pointer, and provides endless
anecdotes and insights relating to the history of the
constellations, the birth, life, and death of stars,
distances in space, our place within the Milky Way Galaxy,
how the sky changes with time, and much more. People are
amazed at how many interesting things there are to know
about the sky overhead, and John puts on an entertaining
show that many people claim is the highlight of the week.
John travels with a superb 8-inch
custom-made Maksutov telescope which he controls with his
iPad. As an option, he will set up the telescope and point
it toward a variety of celestial objects including the
moon and planets (whichever are visible), star clusters,
nebulas, and distant galaxies. If the group is small
everyone gets a leisurely look.
recommended group size is 20, especially with a telescope,
although John speaks to groups as small as a handful and
as large as 60. Perhaps surprisingly, most people remain a
full two hours!
$200 / two hours
plus travel if over 20 minutes each way
Meteorite "Show and Tell"
recommended "Plan-B" for rained-out star parties
John highly recommends this as an alternate activity for
clouded-out or rained-out star parties so the show can go on.
John has accumulated a collection of choice
meteorites from around the world and beyond, and in this
hour-long presentation he tells their fabulous stories. This
is not a lecture on mineralogy -- it's a
show-and-tell accompanied by about 60 visuals that is full
of anecdotes, stories, history, and amazing facts.
The maximum recommended group size is 20 as
the meteorites are passed around for all to see and handle
$200 / one hour
(For an additional $25 John will supply a
small iron meteorite valued at $50 for one lucky person to
(offered by special arrangement only)
John cooking a kitchen comet in a children's
clothing store in California.
John cooks a "kitchen comet" out of dry ice
and household ingredients and explains what comets are, why
they appear the way they do, and relates them to asteroids,
meteors, and meteorites (with actual meteorites to see and
touch). It entertains people of all ages from the very young
to the old and jaded, and he has made a comet for groups as
diverse as youngsters in a children's museum to CNN Headline
$150 / 30-40 minutes
Add the meteorite show-and-tell as described
above for an additional $150.