Summertime Stargazing On-Line Class: Introduction

by Chris Carosa

Chris Carosa graduated from Yale University with a degree in Physics and Astronomy. By day he is a mild mannered investment adviser. By night, he usually sleeps. Unless there’s a full moon.

For many years I was asked to teach the Strasenburgh Planetarium’s popular Summertime Stargazing class. I first experienced the class as a pre-teen with my father. Back then, Summertime Stargazing and several other classes I attended at the Planetarium, were taught by the incomparable Bill Gutsch. He took a liking to this younger version of myself if only because I told him I intended to pursue the study of astronomy in college. He at once dissuaded me and encouraged me from entering the profession. He certainly loved it, but he was truthful enough to warn me the job prospects were rather thin.

As if to fulfill his prophecy, I did end up majoring in Astronomy and Physics but threw away the perfect fellowship to follow the Lorelei of business (no particular industry specifically, but the mercantile profession in general). Still, like Gutsch, I refused to part with my love for Astronomy (as well as the other seven Liberal Arts). Unfortunately,  just as I graduated Bill Gutsch was on his way out of the Strasenburgh Planetarium to take the helm of the Hayden Planetarium under the bright lights of the big city. Fortunately, before he left for good he helped solidify my connection with the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and I taught evening classes there until the duties of my own (then start-up) business and (then young) family required my greater attention.

You can still breathe a sense of that era, however, through a column I crafted in the summer of 1990. Titled “Summertime Stargazing,” (Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, July 5, 1990), I can think of no better way to introduce this course to future generations.

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