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Museums and the Web

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The NASA Night Sky Network and Its Benefit to Museums

Jessica Santascoy, Marni Berendsen, Kenneth Frank, & Vivian White, Astronomical Society of the Pacific; and Victor Yocco, Institute for Learning Innovation, USA


Amateur astronomy clubs and their members serve as a key resource for educating the public on astronomical concepts. These include informal education opportunities offered through science centers, planetariums, and museums. In response to amateur astronomers expressing the need for more time and resources to engage in education and public outreach, Sharing the Universe, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, was developed. The project also has a strong research and evaluation component, with research examining the broader issues surrounding amateur astronomers' engagement in education and public outreach, and evaluation looking closely at clubs' adoption of the tools created by the project. The following paper examines the levels of outreach amateur astronomers had been found to engage in prior to the implementation of Sharing the Universe; examines variables that have been identified as possible predictors of amateurs engaging in education in public outreach; discusses the purpose and development of Web-based tools under Sharing the Universe; and concludes with findings from studies examining the barriers and challenges clubs have faced in adopting the Web-based tools.

Preliminary findings suggest varying levels of adoption of these tools by astronomy clubs, with club leaders expressing a desire for increased training on how to use these tools as a means to increase clubs' adoption of the tools.

NSN clubs benefit museums and science centers by providing outreach activities that enhance museum programming. We also hope that museums can use the research on predictors of outreach in order to spur volunteerism.

Keywords: amateur astronomers, Sharing the Universe, public outreach


Sharing the Universe is a collaborative project between the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and funded by the National Science Foundation, designed to facilitate amateur astronomy clubs and their members' engagement in education and public outreach. The intended impacts of the Sharing the Universe project are to help amateurs find ways to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education and public outreach activities, and to create a more connected active group of astronomy clubs engaging in education and public outreach nationwide. This project has produced a number of tools to assist astronomy clubs engaging in outreach, including Web-based tools to facilitate clubs' engagement with the public, as well as research to inform the extent of amateur astronomers engaging in outreach, and examine how clubs are using the tools provided through Sharing the Universe to facilitate education and public outreach opportunities.

ASP has distributed these tools to over 350 amateur astronomy clubs belonging to the Night Sky Network (NSN), a national network of astronomy clubs dedicated to forwarding NASA's educational mission to the general public, developed and managed by the ASP. The following paper reports on two separate but related components of the project:

  1. the Web-based tools distributed for use by clubs belonging to the NSN, and
  2. preliminary findings from research conducted to uncover variables that may assist with predicting amateur astronomers likelihood of engaging in education and public outreach, as well as research on the barriers and challenges clubs have faced in adopting the Web-based tools

NSN clubs benefit museums and science centers by providing outreach activities that enhance museum programming. For example, The De Young Museum in San Francisco recently had a public program on Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Bay. San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, a NSN club, set up their telescopes outside of the museum for hundreds of visitors to view the moon and the planets, and enhanced the exhibit experience. We look forward to museums utilizing the NSN in the future.

Astronomy outreach

Astronomy education opportunities for the public are typically informal education gatherings that are organized and conducted by amateur astronomy clubs and their members who are constantly deciding on where to focus limited resources of time, money and manpower. Fraknoi (1996) places amateur astronomers alongside universities, K-12 schools, museums, and planetariums, as critical for increasing the public's scientific literacy as it relates to astronomy. Fraknoi notes that with proper training and resources, these amateur astronomers are capable of disseminating astronomy education quite effectively. Providing resources allowing these amateur astronomers to engage in high-quality education and public outreach efforts is a key outcome goal for Sharing the Universe. Percy (1998) notes that amateur astronomers can and should play a critical role in formal education as well, supplementing teachers' curriculum with classroom visits to share their expertise. The tools developed under Sharing the Universe are designed to facilitate amateurs' engagement both in informal and formal learning settings.

Research conducted by ILI has found high levels of amateur astronomer engagement in education and public outreach. An online survey of amateur astronomers (N= 1,142) administered in 2002 (Storksdieck, Dierking, Wadman, & Cohen Jones, 2002) found that 63% (n= 717) were actively engaged in education or public outreach. A 2008 online survey of 1,242 amateur astronomers (Storksdieck, Stein, Figuiredo, & Cohen Jones, 2008) found similar results with 64% (n= 801) of participants stating they engage in astronomy education or public engagement activities, either as part of a club or on their own. Sixty- four percent (n= 400) of the participants from the 2002 sample who reported engaging in outreach stated they do so "occasionally" (1-7 times per year) or "monthly" (8-19 times per year). The ILI studies focused on a population of amateur astronomers who do engage in outreach; findings from a study (Berendsen, 2005) using a more generalizable population of amateurs, as well as information reported to ASP from NSN member clubs, suggest that the actual level of amateur astronomers who engage in education and public outreach is approximately 22%.

These amateur astronomers who engage in outreach occasionally and monthly, as well as amateurs who do not currently engage, represent a target audience for facilitating an increase in the amount of outreach offered to the public. Tools such as the ones developed by the Sharing the Universe project may have the greatest potential to increase the amount of outreach these groups and individuals engage in. The 17% of astronomers who are engaged in outreach and do so bi-monthly or weekly have less room to move, a so-called "ceiling effect" in which these amateur astronomers are already engaged in a large amount of outreach with little ability to increase their level.

Findings from the 2002 Storksdieck et al. study suggest amateur astronomers are heeding Fraknoi's (1996) and Percy's (1998) call for active outreach in both formal and informal learning settings. Out of 642 participants responding to the section of the questionnaire on type of outreach amateur astronomers are engaged in, 73% (n= 469) reported engaging in star parties for the general public, or groups other than schools; 60% (n= 387) reported engaging in star parties for school groups; 55% (n= 353) reported engaging in public talks; 33% (n= 210) teach a class on astronomy either for a local community college or educational venue; while 22% (n= 138) engage in volunteer work related to astronomy at museums, science centers, or planetariums.

How amateur astronomers organize their outreach activities is as diverse as the types of activities that are organized. The 2002 Storksdiek et al. study found that 31% (n= 192) of 620 amateur astronomers who engage in outreach report doing so mainly as an individual; 25% (n= 156) engaged in outreach mainly as part of a team; while a slight majority, 44% (n= 269), reported engaging as both. Sixty-five percent (n= 401) out of 617 amateur astronomers who engage in outreach reported they or another individual initiated an outreach opportunity; 62% (n= 383) reported engaging in an outreach event initiated, organized, or sponsored by a local astronomy club or organization; 44% (n= 271) indicated they had participated in an outreach event initiated, organized, or sponsored by a local organization (e.g. science center or planetarium).

Amateur astronomers reported connecting with a diverse range of audiences. Seventy-six percent (n= 469) of 617 from the 2002 study reported engaging the general public in an educational outreach program; 70% (n= 432) reported engaging school groups in educational outreach; and 50% (n= 309) stated they engaged families with children in educational outreach. Participants noted engaging specific groups such as scouts, home-schooled children, and church groups in outreach programming.

Predictors of outreach

The ability to identify variables that influence individual people's likelihood of engaging in outreach is critical in that these will provide insight into what potential interventions may be the most effective at increasing the likelihood or amount of outreach an individual is willing to engage in. For example, if public speaking ability is a factor that potential outreach participants consider before agreeing to engage in outreach, an intervention that offers increased public speaking skills to amateur astronomers would be more effective than an intervention offering training on how to set up a telescope for multiple users.

A number of variables influencing the likelihood of an individual engaging in outreach or volunteer activity have been identified in the literature. Berendsen's (2005) findings suggest that formal astronomy education (college) and length of club membership (longer=more) have an effect on the frequency of astronomy outreach individuals engage in. The primary motivation for adult volunteering in an "intensive youth literacy program" was that volunteering was in line with their core values (Schmiesing, Soder, & Russell, 2005); while researchers examining the reasons volunteers are attracted to the Master Gardener programs found that personal benefits such as status, flexibility of volunteer roles, and reward for efforts played a role in motivating volunteers, as well as excellence of training, and quality of learning materials. Additionally, differences were found in motivations based on backgrounds; e.g., those who had parents who were Master Gardeners and those who were retired, rated items significantly differently from those who had/were not (Rohs, Striblng, & Westerfield, 2002). Motivations for adult volunteers to continue service in 4-H included maintaining an affiliation with the organization and the organization's members. Factors contributing to discontinuation of service included physical inability (death) and unfulfilled affiliation motives (Culp & Schwartz, 1999).

Storksdieck et al. (2002; 2008) have identified additional factors that may be useful for predicting amateur astronomers' engagement in conducting outreach. The 2002 study found that many amateur astronomers begin involvement in educational and public outreach through membership in an astronomy club or society, because they have a love for showing others the sky, and because they were asked by a schoolteacher to give a presentation or do an activity. The top three needs for increasing or improving educational outreach identified by amateur astronomers in 2002 was material, having more time, and increased content knowledge. The 2008 survey found that those who belong to astronomy clubs are more likely than those who do not to engage in outreach. In-depth statistical analysis on the previously discussed independent variables will be reported in a forthcoming article.

Perhaps the most important variables affecting the likelihood of clubs and individuals engaging in education and public outreach are time and materials. These were identified in the 2008 survey as the top two needs of amateur astronomers. As such, Sharing the Universe provides infrastructure to support clubs in doing outreach: the enhanced website, various training videos on doing outreach and on growing the astronomy club, as well as initiatives to help with advertising the clubs' public events and attracting young people to the club.

Use of NSN tools to facilitate outreach

Research conducted by ILI has found club members reported their clubs are "aging out" and several of the clubs identified the challenge of getting younger members involved as the "white-hair syndrome (Stein 2010)." Studies have found that on average astronomy club membership is about 80% male, although female members usually report that they are welcomed and incorporated as members (Koke 2000). Club members are almost uniformly in agreement that they want to attract a more diverse membership, especially with regard to a younger audience, while recognizing that they want to recruit and retain members from underrepresented communities and have more gender diversity within their clubs.

Since many club members are mostly concerned with the aging demographic of their membership, the NSN is supporting outreach to younger adults, those under the age of 40, while being keenly aware that the long-term goal is to completely broaden club membership.

The ASP hired an outreach coordinator dedicated to social media planning and content delivery, tech, and content strategy. What follows is a summary of the social media and tech plan.

Social media & tech plan

Because club members are volunteers, with limited time for publicity, the plan was designed so that the members could continue doing outreach as before, while taking advantage of the social media and technology developed by the ASP. Clubs do not need to take any action to benefit from the plan – all they need to do is post their upcoming events on the NSN website calendar -something they already do. Clubs will benefit from the no-cost, no extra effort publicity that the plan offers without having to work at it, or change the way they do things.

In addition, many club members reported not wanting to engage in Facebook due to privacy concerns before the Page went live. However, it should be noted that there are club members who have "liked" the Facebook page and regularly comment.

Social media and technologies change quickly. The social media plan will be reviewed every six to twelve months and adjusted if its goals are not being met (Bernoff & Li, 2008). Table 1 displays a few of the components of the plan:

media/tech description/goal example
Facebook Page attract people to club events by providing quick, digestible info on astronomy
iPhone App, Go StarGaze provide on-the-go locator for astronomy clubs and events
Events Widget provide a portal to the NSN clubs & events from any website

Table 1: Media components of Sharing the Universe

Evaluation of the plan

Because the social media & tech plan has only recently been implemented and there are still components that have not been put into place, evaluation is preliminary. Our evaluation is based on our goals of the plan which are defined here:

1. to support clubs by providing a pathway for broadening the membership

2. to support clubs' outreach efforts by providing them with tools they can offer members and prospective members, which keep them informed of their events

Within the plan, there is a content strategy. For the Facebook page, it is to: "provide quick, digestible information about astronomy that fires up the imagination while periodically posting information on club activities." The hope is that the "fans" on Facebook will get inspired and call their local astronomy club to participate in an event and later join the club.

Evaluation is voluntary and self-reported by club members. Both the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers and the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society have seen an increase in visitors to their events since the release of Go StarGaze, the iPhone app and the Facebook page. To date, there have been over 10,000 downloads of the app. We cannot say if the increase in attendance at these two clubs is definitely due to the plan, but members have reported that they believe it is because of the new publicity via these technologies, in particular the iPhone app.

As for the Night Sky Network Facebook Page demographic, the breakdown is as follows: 58% male, 42% female, with 80% of our users under the age of 55. Our largest demographic is 35-45 year olds, at 27%. We are reaching the targeted demographic, as most of the users are under 40. In contrast to the 80% male membership in astronomy clubs, we have a 42% female following on Facebook.

There are no statistics available as to how many sites have added the events widget. But, the clubs are getting more publicity because the widget has been placed on websites such as the International Planetarium Society and Jet Propulsion Laboratory websites. Club members may also contact local planetariums and science centers and libraries in their communities to have the widget added to their websites.

Overcoming challenges and barriers to use

To date researchers have conducted two rounds of telephone interviews with the leaders of 11 astronomy clubs spanning the United States who are part of NSN. The first round of interviews explored what barriers clubs had encountered to adopting the tools being offered through Sharing the Universe, while the second round of interviews explored how clubs had attempted to overcome these barriers. The following section lists three key barriers identified by participants and explains how these were or were not overcome.

1. No NSN Spokesperson

nitially, two of the clubs interviewed had not taken much time to become familiar with the site, and initial barriers prevented them from moving forward. Both of these clubs now have an NSN spokesperson and report an increase in use of the NSN calendar developed through Sharing the Universe. One club overcame the barriers faced by having the club's President take on the responsibility of all things related to NSN. The other club contacted NSN representatives for assistance and was extremely satisfied with the response.

There hasn't been a whole lot of change I generally do it all (everything NSN related). I set up our outreach programs, I log them onto NSN. Maybe a couple of other members utilize the functions but I'm really not sure. I've told them to try to use it and that you guys are calling and want them to use it. (club 1 rep)

It's become more user friendly to me. I had gotten in touch with the night sky people, I was having a hard time logging on and getting our events logged on and they gave me great help and I've been able to do it and I've been very satisfied with that. Things have been very much improved. (club 2 rep)

The club leader reporting that he took on all of the NSN duties did not view this as the ideal situation. This leader has found little interest from club members on assisting with or becoming more involved with NSN. This finding may suggest some clubs have not adopted NSN tools due to a lack of members being willing to share NSN administrative duties for their club. The leader reporting they had gotten in touch with NSN administrators reported that they were provided with adequate guidance to become proficient with logging events and other tasks related to their club's use of NSN, suggesting that training from NSN administrators was able to successfully increase the club's use of NSN.

2. NSN Spokesperson can't get buy-in from other members

Three clubs from the first round of interviews had issues with getting buy-in from club members. During the second interview, each participant from these three clubs expressed very little had changed with their situations.

One participant suggested that two barriers to increasing involvement and use of NSN by members were lack of time and lack of relevancy of NSN tools. Specifically this club's leader stated their club focuses on actually viewing the sky at their outreach events, not education. Therefore, the club leader accessed NSN Web-based tools to log volunteer hours, but other members did not express an active interest in becoming familiar with NSN Web-based tools.

I'm about the only one accessing NSN and we really haven't been taking advantage of it like we should. We got a call that many of the things listed haven't been updated. And, truthfully I just haven't gotten into it. It's been my fault. For the most part we don't use NSN because our organization goes in a different direction we are more hands on observing. When we get together we encourage people to look though the lens and not so much education. We probably have about 5 members who are on the roster of our NSN but I am the only one who accesses it on a regular basis. We do a lot of public outreach but as I say our design is slightly different from what NSN is designed for.

Examining the response from this leader suggests that this club finds value in being affiliated with NSN, but sees little utility in the educational component of NSN tools. This finding may reflect a lack of awareness of club leaders of the versatility of NSN tools, and the importance of education to increasing public awareness and interest in astronomy. This finding may also suggest that some of the NSN clubs have joined because they find a value to having the NSN logo and affiliation listed with their club, but they do not intend to adopt or engage with NSN tools.

During the first round, one club was using its current club website and didn't feel that there would be many added benefits to using the NSN Web-based tools. This club reported no change in how members are utilizing NSN Web-based tools. The main benefit reported was the hope that local schools would sign up for events through the NSN Web portal. "We are not using it differently than before. Mostly we were hoping to recruit schools to sign up for events through the NSN Web link."

Similar to the previous club, this club had an interest in being affiliated with NSN; however, they already had what they felt were effective means of promoting their events (e.g. member newsletter, column in local paper, other local media). This club was extremely eager to benefit from the ability to have local schools register for events online through NSN, and when this did not occur, felt NSN tools provided little additional benefit.

Use by a third club had previously been limited to the online calendar; during first round interviews only one member had signed up to use NSN Web-based tools. Currently, nine members of this club have signed up for NSN Web-based tool use, but none other than the NSN spokesperson is utilizing NSN Web-based tools. Challenges to buy-in from the club include a perception by this leader of strong resistance from the board, and the presence of Web-based tools that were already in use by club members (e.g. Yahoo! group and e-newsletter).

I've been fighting the problem, I'm on the board; I'm continually fighting the members on the board of implementing the features of NSN. I was the one that got the club into NSN in 2004 I said 'hey this looks like a good idea,' but I'm having a problem getting club members involved or onto the NSN but I just can't seem to get the info out to them. We publish a newsletter and I've had numerous articles trying to encourage members to get onto the NSN but it just doesn't seem to gel and I can't understand why. We have a website but it isn't an interactive website where you can email members or send updated info. Even trying to get the board members to sign up has been hard. They say they don't have time; I have the feeling they don't seem to want to do it.

This club leader reported little had changed since the previous phone interview. The board's resistance to NSN tools was a source of tension between members, and in the eyes of the participant, reflected the board's lack of interest in being involved with NSN. This participant suggested the board had been "humoring" him by allowing him to move forward with joining NSN, but with no real intention of actively engaging the tools. Additionally, the presence of previous forms of communication such as a Yahoo! group have remained barriers to increasing use of NSN tools by club members.

3. NSN Spokesperson can't get buy-in for username and password

Three clubs from round one had reported a challenge in getting buy-in from club members to sign up for a username and password on NSN. Each of these clubs reported an increase in club members belonging to and utilizing NSN Web-based tools.

One club reported making headway on having more members sign up for username and password. One of the ways the club leader was attempting to overcome the barriers to having members sign up was to model use of NSN Web-based tools during meetings.

Main part, responsibility is on the club leaders. Need to set up and show them how to maneuver through the website. Requires us to get online and use the site as a group. They tend to think it's not so easy.

Another way this club's leader had increased participation with NSN Web-based tools was by promoting the fact that club members were receiving awards for the service hours being logged on to NSN.

We are tooting our own horn, how involved we are with the awards that we would win for logging events – just got our slice of a meteorite [award from NSN], one of the top groups, people know and we're trying to keep people in the loop.

Findings from this club suggest modeling use of NSN Web-based tools may be an effective technique for older or apprehensive club members. As noted by the club leader, it is necessary to have Internet access and the ability to project the screen in front of the meeting in order to do this. This club's strategy also suggests the awards given for volunteering by NSN are effective incentives for increasing club member participation.

A second club reported increased use of communication through NSN Web-based tools. Members were receiving updates via e-mail and having to RSVP online for events, which the leader found extremely useful. This club's leader attributes the increase in NSN Web-based tool use to the guidance and assistance provided by ASP administrators.

They make it too easy. Everything they (ASP) are doing has turned around how we do our outreach. We don't just set the telescopes out we have talking points and people use the talking points and the scripts when we do these things. It's not just pull the scopes out and point them at a few things. We can talk to people about certain things and I don't have to be such an expert. That has been great. The way that we've done our star parties and getting out in the public we're doing that a lot more than in the past.

This finding suggests ASP has made the tools available for clubs to succeed. It is notable that this is a participant who had difficulty in the beginning but then worked with ASP administrators to become proficient on the use of NSN tools. One remaining challenge expressed by this club's leader was that he had to take on all NSN administrative duties for the club (e.g. logging hours).

I'd like more members to share the responsibilities of the NSN. We have members who live 2 or 3 hours away, they still keep in contact with us but they aren't able to do much more than the star parties. We have to work on growing our club.

This finding reinforces the suggestion that some clubs' use of NSN tools remains minimal due to a shortage of club members willing to take on additional duties.

A third club had reported difficulty with having members sign up for user-names. During the current round of interviews, the NSN spokesperson reported a complete turnaround, with members using NSN Web-based tools. This club's leader reported overcoming the barriers through effective communication, and standardizing the use of NSN tools (e.g. RSVP for events) by members.

It's changed our focus on using RSVP, we communicate quite a bit with it now because our members are listed and we can send messages through NSN, we actually have more people on NSN than our Yahoo group (140 members only 70 on Yahoo). NSN allows us to send messages to everyone who has given us an email.

More emphasis on communication using NSN tools. We now have more than 10 coordinators. More people needed access to do part of their job for the society. We've been sending our newsletter out and emphasizing the RSVP system for star parties, trying to see where we stand before the event. We also have a discussion group through Yahoo which was our former system for making people aware of star parties, but we are trying to standardize on the RSVP.

This club had experienced a change in leadership during the time between the first and second interviews. Although the participant did not identify this as being relevant to use of NSN tools, it was noted that the former club President is no longer affiliated with the group, and that the club had experienced a shift in how dialogue was occurring, from face to face at meetings, to online tools such as NSN email and calendar.

Additional suggestions for overcoming challenges and barriers

There were additional suggestions made by interview participants for overcoming challenges and barriers to using NSN Web-based tools. This extended beyond the clubs discussed above. Suggestions of what could be done to overcome barriers that exist with NSN Web-based tool use fall broadly under training opportunities and communication from ASP.

Three participants mentioned training by ASP administrators as being key to facilitating increased use of NSN Web-based tools. Participants suggested training could focus on giving club leaders the skills to teach interested members more. "Maybe some way of training us. The people that really are involved; in trying to give us easier ways to present it to our members, help us get them involved."

A different club leader suggested there is a need for training club leaders on how to use the various Web-based features of the NSN. "Maybe more training, I'm not the best on it, I could use more."

The third participant mentioned that something as simple as a PowerPoint presentation showing off different NSN features would be useful for showing members during meetings. Participants stated training would be best if it occurred during a regular scheduled meeting, avoiding any additional time or travel burden on club members.

Two participants discussed the potential impact on club member participation, of communication from ASP. One leader suggested club members should receive through NSN an e-mail that they are required to respond to, with the idea that this would encourage them to become more involved.

Maybe getting the people who are presenters and who get the Night Sky communications to respond to communication, or having an obligation to acknowledge that they receive communication, make them more conscious of their roles.

The second club leader suggested e-mails discussing NSN features as a way to motivate member's interest and involvement.

Maybe a weekly notice or an email, add a picture or a news article on the NSN site, do something, anyone who has a log-in need benefit there.

All of the responses noted above suggest a desire by club leaders to have contact and guidance from NSN administrators at ASP, and the belief that these administrators have the capability of motivating club members to be more active in club duties.

Moving Forward

Examining and understanding the predictors of amateurs' involvement in both astronomy education and public outreach allow for informed decisions to be made on what will be the most effective approach for encouraging clubs to utilize the Web-based tools discussed in this paper. Findings from the literature suggest predictors include some background in astronomy education, a desire to maintain affiliation with the club they belong to, and a belief that volunteering to engage is in line with core values. Predictors from the Storksdieck et al. (2002; 2008) papers included affiliation with clubs, time, materials, and a desire to show others the sky.

Barriers to club members' adopting the Web-based tools identified by ILI's current research center on the concept of lack of buy-in from club members. This is in line with what would be expected through the lens of the predictors listed above. Web-based tools may not inherently align with the reasons amateur astronomers engage in education and public outreach; particularly when this group expresses that they have limited time, making the learning of new tools an initial barrier to adoption. This may suggest the burden of showing clubs and their members the value of NSN tools is placed on administrators from ASP. Showing club members the potential utility of the tools and how the use of these tools may align with their values and desire to promote others looking at the sky could lead to increased adoption of the tools. This is further backed by the findings on how clubs overcame initial barriers through training and communication from ASP, and the request by many club leaders to have more communication and training from ASP to help move their members towards adoption of the tools.


The plan under Sharing the Universe is to help broaden NASA Night Sky Network club membership and the amount of education and public outreach clubs and their members engage in, with the realization this is an ambitious goal. Social media and technology are being used in the hope that they will help solve particular issues that clubs are having with an aging demographic.

Research on club use of NSN Web-based tools suggests a range of adopting these tools from full use to only using the NSN logo on communications. Identifying challenges and barriers and seeing how clubs have overcome these challenges and barriers have provided data to inform policy to help other clubs increase their use of the Web-based tools. Identifying the predictors of amateur astronomers' participation in education and public outreach allows ASP to make informed decisions on the types of interventions distributed to NSN clubs, as well as the topics of training, and the variables that affect the likelihood of participants engaging in education and public outreach. Through this, ASP will be able to provide the strongest product to NSN clubs that with the greatest likelihood of increasing club member engagement in education and public outreach.

Should you have any need of further details of the plan or have any questions about the Web-based technology, please contact Jessica Santascoy at If you have any questions on the research or evaluation of Sharing the Universe please contact Victor Yocco at


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Cite as:

Santascoy, J., et al., The NASA Night Sky Network & Its Benefit to Museums. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2011. Consulted