Geoff McLean, a long-time volunteer Ranger for The Last Green Valley, Inc., was recently accepted into NASA’s prestigious Solar System Ambassador Program. McLean, who has run astronomy programs for TLGV for many years, will now have access to cutting edge NASA research and programs and be able to share that information with everyone who attends his programs.
“I have learned so much in just the last few months,” McLean said. “I have had direct access to the NASA scientists doing the research. It’s pretty incredible.”
Solar System Ambassadors undergo a rigorous application and testing program. Once accepted they become volunteer ambassadors for NASA’s programming.
McLean, a Norwich resident, is a retired engineer and former naval officer. He worked for Electric Boat and other local contractors before opening his own firm, McLean Research Associates. Geoff met his wife, Kim, while both worked at EB. They have a daughter, Libby.
It was while assisting with Libby’s Girl Scout Troop that McLean’s passion for astronomy was rekindled. Libby was one of two Girl Scouts in the state invited to participate in a trip to NASA’s Goddard Space Center in Washington D.C. Part of the program was to return home and start an astronomy club. While Libby is now an adult, Geoff and Kim still work with Girl Scouts and the astronomy club.
“I was always interested in space,” Geoff said. “As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut but I don’t have perfect eye sight, so it wasn’t possible.”
Bill Reid, TLGV’s Chief Ranger, said McLean as been a tremendous asset since he first began volunteering for TLGV.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to every program,” Reid said. “It’s exciting that he now has an opportunity to expand that knowledge and expertise even further.”
McLean has several programs already scheduled for 2018 and most of his programs are suitable for anyone age 6 and up. Here’s a sampling of upcoming programs with McLean:
Dark Sky in The Last Green Valley – Light Pollution 101: 1 - 3 pm, Mar. 31, The Last Green Valley Office, 203B Main St. (2nd Floor), Danielson, CT. Light pollution is the unwanted intrusion of light into our night sky, landscapes, and homes. Light Pollution 101 reveals how light pollution affects human beings, kills tens of thousands of animals annually, and actually makes us less secure in our neighborhoods. The Last Green Valley is blessed with minimal light pollution as seen from outer space but light pollution is expanding up the I-395 corridor. This program focuses on how to improve light fixtures and reduce lighting costs while at the same time providing a more secure and eco-friendly environment for animals, plants, and humans. This program is appropriate for all ages 6+. This program is offered by TLGV Ranger Geoff McLean. Please RSVP to Chief Ranger Bill Reid at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 860 774-3300.
The Last Green Valley’s Acorn Adventure, Sun Spots and More!: April 15, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., West Thompson Dam. Spend some time with Geoff McLean, a volunteer TLGV Ranger and NASA Solar System Ambassador, examining our closest star. We will view the Sun in normal light looking for currently elusive sun spots and also in the Hydrogen Alpha spectrum where you can see flares, prominences, Ellerman bombs, and other phenomena. Geoff will speak on safety concerning solar viewing, the life of our star, what it does, how it compares to other stars, and how it will end. What is Earth’s future going to be like?  If there are sunspots (and the sun is currently at its sunspot minimum) make a drawing of it and learn about Greenwich Mean Time and Universal Time as well as latitude and longitude — i.e. where you are on the Earth.  We’ll also talk about NASA’s solar projects and space telescopes. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 860-774-3300 with questions.
Explore the Dark Side: May 5, 8 -11 p.m. Holton Rd., Franklin, CT. Sprague Land Trust property on Holton Road in Franklin. Directions/Parking:  From Baltic take 207 West, right onto Holton Rd. (before the Franklin School), drive almost to end.  Parking on left in mowed field/marked areas. Join Rangers Kim and Geoff for a night observing some far distant objects like galaxies, clusters of stars, Red Giants, Nebulae. We might be able to view Jupiter. If you have a telescope, bring it.  If you don’t know how to use it come early and we’ll help get you get started.  (We’ll be there about 7PM.) Learn how to find the North Star. This is a family friendly event. Please - no lanterns and flashlights should be only be red lights.  No white lights.  Questions? 860-774-3300.
Mars Party: July 30, 8 p.m., Ayer Farm, 44 Ayer Road, Franklin. Rain date July 31. Come join TLGV Ranger and NASA Solar System Ambassador Geoff McLean and Rangers Kim McLean and Steve Ayers on the Ayer’s farm for a twice in 60,000 year event when Mars will be almost at it’s closest and thus the largest viewable in telescopes. Also starring these evenings will be Jupiter and Saturn both riding higher in the sky - A perfect trifecta for planetary observers. Ranger Kim will point out various constellations and Geoff will fill the voids with numerous fun facts. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit upon in the Ayer’s hay field.  The Moon will rise about 9:30 and we can examine craters along the terminus where they look 3-D in telescopes.  Bring binoculars if you have them - or even a telescope.  The field has a great Northeast to Northwest view.  This is a family friendly event.  No pets, please as the astronomical equipment is delicate.  Service animals are permitted.  Please arrive by 8PM.  If arriving later please turn off headlights.  Please, no one arrive after 8:30 as the car lights will cause night blindness in everyone else.


RocketTheme Joomla Templates