Bringing Astronomy Directly to New Audiences (50,000 People) at Outdoor Concerts and Music Festivals
My NASA-funded Music and Astronomy Under the Stars (MAUS) has brought astronomy to 50,000 music lovers at the National Mall (co-sponsor OSTP); Central Park Jazz, Newport Folk, Ravinia, or Tanglewood music festivals; and classical, folk, pop/rock, opera, Caribbean, or county-western concerts in parks assisted by astronomy clubs (55 events since 2009). Yo-Yo-Ma, the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding, Phish, Blood Sweat and Tears, Deep Purple, Tony Orlando, andWilco performed at these events. MAUS combines solar,
optical, and radio telescope observations; large posters/banners (From the Earth to the Universe; Visions of the Universe); videos; hands-on activities (Night Sky Network; Harvard-Smithsonian CfA); imaging with a cell phone mount; and hand-outs (info on science museums, astronomy clubs, and citizen science) before and after the concerts or at intermission. MAUS reached underserved groups and attracted large enthusiastic crowds. Many young children participated in this family learning experience-often the first time they looked through a telescope. Outcomes: While < 50% of the participants
took part in a science museum or activity in the past year (survey result), they found MAUS enjoyable and understandable; learned about astronomy; wanted to learn more; and increased their interest in science (ave. rating 3.6/4). Taking science directly to people is effective in promoting science education!