Remembering Allan Sacharow
10/12/1928 – 8/29/2022
Allan Sacharow, a Remembrance
In my 3rd grade year of elementary school, I joined my 8 year old classmates on a field trip to the Museum of Art, Science & Industry in Bridgeport, CT. Allan Sacharow was working as director of the museum’s planetarium at the time, where he had crafted many of the incredible space exhibits as well as being our ‘star show’ guide. That day, Allan expertly revealed the vast mystery that completely captivated my imagination and sense of wonder. Unbeknownst to my younger self, that experience was to ignite a fire within me that still burns today, and Allan would later become a dear friend, mentor, and partner in my own astronomical and educational pursuits.
A devoted husband, father, teacher and amateur astronomer (among many other interests), Allan was a passionate man, with the personal warmth and ease to strike up a conversation with anyone – anywhere. He was a storyteller beyond compare, with endless tales from his many adventures. Allan was a devout fan of humankind’s exploration beyond our planet, right from the dawn of the Space Age. He was also was an active observer and photographer of the night sky – often building the equipment and telescopes he used. While working at the Bridgeport museum, Allan employed his wide-ranging skills to design and construct many of the inventive exhibits that created the indelible experience of my youth.
By the time I met Allan, I had become an active amateur astronomer, and he had retired from teaching at Foran High School in Milford. During his years at Foran, he initiated and oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art planetarium as well as a rooftop astronomical observatory at the school. Far from settling down, he was still full of energy and ideas about sharing his astronomical knowledge and his skills with others. With our shared goals and interests, Allan and I created an educational non-profit organization to bring astronomy education and experiences to the public. For many years we provided programs to schools, libraries, festivals and summer camps. Allan was a natural teacher, and I learned so much from him about creating and delivering a lesson, and helping people view through a telescope for the first time.
Aside from our work together, I was able to spend many memorable times with Allan under the stars witnessing and sharing the latest astronomical sight of the moment. Whether on a trip to the mountains of Vermont, or in a dark backyard in Connecticut, we’d be wide awake late into the night exploring fascinating details of the latest comet, or planetary apparition that was happening – or simply testing a telescope’s limits as we reached out into the seemingly endless universe above us.
I am only one of the multitudes of Allan’s friends, colleagues and former students who were deeply touched by his tireless enthusiasm and generosity. Never one to wallow in regret, I can’t remember a time when Allan wasn’t looking forward towards a new adventure. Although he may have departed from his Earthly form, Allan still lives on here through those, like myself he has inspired – permanently inscribed in the book of life, a star whose light forever shines brightly.
I grew up in Milford, and the tradition was that elementary school students would take a field trip to Foran High School’s Planetarium. That’s where we all first met Mr. Sacharow. We were amazed when he made a “storm” come in and we got rained on!
Then I attended Foran High from 1981 and graduated in 1985. Mr. Sacharow was still there and I took several of his astronomy classes. The planetarium was our hangout. Now it was OUR turn to sprinkle “rain drops” on the kids. He was also a rock star in that he showed up in Rush’s music video for “Countdown”.
As an adult, I joined ASNH and was thrilled to introduce my kids to MY astronomy teacher at the Connecticut Star Party. Now it was his turn to teach MY kids.
You will be missed Mr. Sacharow.
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