The Night Sky Network is a program promoting astronomy outreach by amateur astronomers around the UNited States. it is a partnership of amateur astronomy club, NASA/JPL, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and other organizations.
For an overview, watch the videos on the About the Network page.
Amateur astronomers regularly share their knowledge, time, and telescopes to bring amazing aspects of astronomy to the public.
- Materials on themed topics
- Training in the use of the materials
- Effective ways to communicate with varied audiences
- Providing services to clubs to expand and support their outreach programs
- Networking with other amateurs doing outreach
The Night Sky Network was inaugurated and has been expanded to help meet these needs.
Amateur astronomers have an interest in providing the public with entertaining, engaging ways to learn basic astronomy concepts. It is one of the NASA education goals as well to improve the American public understanding of astronomy.
The Night Sky Network has been developed and expanded with the dedicated assistance of advisory teams of amateur astronomers and industry experts.
Your club will join a national coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing astronomy and the excitement of NASA missions to your communities.
This is an opportunity to:
- Enhance the public outreach you already do
- Encourage more of your members to participate in outreach
- Increase the confidence of those who are interested in outreach
- Gain national recognition for your outreach efforts
- Keep up-to-date on the latest NASA discoveries via members-only webinars with NASA scientists
Your club can:
- Receive Outreach ToolKits on themed topics in astronomy
- Maintain an online calendar of events enhanced with a number of services to help manage your club and its events
- Download free activities to provide you with new ideas for engaging your visitors at astronomy events
- Qualify to win prizes and free handouts from NASA programs and related partners (availabilty varies)
Your club MUST meet the following qualifications in order to join the NASA Night Sky network program:
- Your club must have a minimum of 15 members
- Your club must be based in the United States, its Territories, or Possessions
- Potential membership MUST be approved by your club's officers.
- Your club commits to using Night Sky Network resources in a minimum of five public astronomy events a year.
- Your club should be at least two (2) years old, with a history of outreach in your community.
Please note: If your club does not meet these requirements, your application will be rejected!
Qualifying clubs must show a commitment to sharing astronomy with the public and an interest in contributing to the Night Sky Network community.
Your application will be acknowledged within a few days. Your application will then be reviewed and your club contacts will be notified within two to four weeks of your club membership status.
The NSN's Outreach Toolkits includes the materials you need to support a variety of activities, inlduing training videos showing ways you might use the materials, a manual of suggested activities, PowerPoint presentations, and video clips.
These kits are available for free to clubs that participate in the Night Sky Network program. Toolkits are not available for purchase. However, everyone is free to download and use any of the toolkit materials from the Downloads page (but we do appreciate credit given to the NSN if you use them!).
As long as you continue to report on your clubs outreach events using the Night Sky Network Resources, your club is eligible to receive NSN toolkits.
- PlanetQuest Outreach ToolKit: The search for planets around other stars.
- Our Galaxy, Our Universe Outreach ToolKit: Scale and distance in our Solar System, galaxy, and universe.
- Black Hole Survival ToolKit: Gravity and black holes.
- Telescopes: Eyes on the Universe : How telescopes work and helpful answers for common questions heard at the eyepiece.
- Shadows & Silhouettes: Phases, eclipses, transits, and the science of NASA's Kepler Mission.
- Exploring the Solar System; The sizes distances of the planets explored, along with highlights of NASA's Solar System Exploration Missions.
- SUPERNOVA!; The lives of stars, cosmic radiation, and the role of supernovae in the universe.
- Glass & Mirrors: an Inside Look at Telescopes: Demonstrations of how telescopes (both refractors and reflectors) work
- Space Rocks: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites
- Life in the Universe: Are We Alone in the Universe? (Exobiology)
- Our Magnetic Sun: An exploration fo space weather and the Earth-Sun connection
Your primary point of contact for your club will be your Night Sky Network (NSN) Club Coordinators.
- Your club may download a special Night Sky Network logo and link to post on your website designating your club as a member of the Night Sky Network. You have the right to use this logo on your website, club correspondence, and publicity.
- Your club is listed as a member on the Night Sky Network.
- Your club's officer and the Night Sky Network club coordinator listed on the application form are each sent an email witht heir login and password for the Night Sky Network.The club coordinator can begin regsistration of other club members as participants in the Night Sky Network.
- Your club will become eligible to receive your first toolkit after scheduling and then reporting on two public astronomy events using the NIght SKy Network calendar system. Details will be sent to your club coordinators.
- We recommend you place the Night Sky Network login page into your favorites or bookmark the page in your browser.
Your club needs to assign at least one primary and one backup club coordinator. In case the primary club coordinator is unavailable, the backup can take over. The primary and backup club coordinators are the club contacts you put on your application for membership. The club coordinators can change who is designated for the role after your club is accepted into the program.
Night Sky Network Club Coordinators:
- Receive and manage any new Outreach Toolkits
- Introduce the Night Sky Network services and the Outreach Toolkits to club members
- Maintain the roster of your club members who are participants in the Night Sky Network.
- Schedule events and approve events reorted by club members
- Maintain your NSN Club Home page and keep conact information up to date.
To receive continued support for this program, NASA must document the success of the Night Sky Network. This is accomplished through by reporting club events va the NSN website's logging system.
To remain a member in good standing of the Night Sky Network, your club agrees to report on a minimum of five outreach events per year. These are referred to as NSN Events. Timely and accurate logging of outreach activities and events into the Night Sky Network (NSN) is essential.
A NSN Club that continues to log at least two NSN events per calendar quarter will be eligible to receive additional outreach toolkits and to participate in all activities provided by the Night Sky Network.
Outreach is any activity that involves sharing astronomy with your community, with youth groups, or with your astronomy club members.Examples of outreach include:
- Star party
- Presentation for your club members
- Presentation or star party for a youth or community group
- Demo set up at a science museum, classroom activity or science fair
- A gathering at your house where you take a group of friends outside to look at the sky.
An NSN event can even be an article you write for a club newsletter or local newspaper or a spot on a local radio or TV show about an outreach toolkit, about the NASA missions featured in the toolkit, or about the Night Sky Network program.
- For the public to find out about events you and other astronomy clubs are holding, to share these events with others, and to contact your astronomy club.
- News is posted about upcoming events for NSN participants, like teleconferences with NASA scientists and special outreach opportunities
- You can review what other clubs are doing for outreach
- You report your outreach events and earn outreach recognition
- Get help with the Outreach ToolKits
- You can contact other Night Sky Network members either by email or on the Message Board
- Access a variety of online activities to give you new ideas to enhance your astronomy events
NSN Club Coordinators can:
- Manage your club calendar, request RSVPs from volunteers for events, track volunteer hours
- Add new participants from your club
- Manage your Membership Roster.
- Include your club logo and club locations on your NSN Club Information page, such as where you hold club meetings and have public astronomy events.
- Change logins and reset passwords of your club members
- Change those assigned as the NSN Club Coordinators (you must have at least two)
- Review events entered by your club members and approve them for scheduling on the Calendar
Participants and NSN Club Coordinators can:
- Add events to your calendar: One of the NSN Club Coordinators must approve the event for it to be scheduled
- Post photos from your events
- Keep your online member information updated
- Manage your RSVPs to events
- Track your volunteer hours
- Find and view events posted by your club and other clubs
- Download a variety of resources for use in public events
If you are not a member of an amateur astronomy club and want to become involved, use Find Clubs to find the nearest club that is a member of the Night Sky Network. Use the displayed club contact information to find out how to join.
The Night Sky Network is sponsored and supported by NASA/JPL, and the program is managed by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Various NASA missions and projects have provided support to the outreach efforts of NSN members throughout its history.