Stars In Their Eyes

AMATEUR ASTRONOMY isn't just for science fairs. Americans' backyards are turning into high-tech observatories

Had the warden at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York agreed to turn off the lights in the exercise yard, it might have been possible to see a galaxy. But turning off the lights is not something you do at a maximum-security prison. So the 18 students in the inmate astronomy class--who were getting their first chance to peek through a telescope at the impossibly open sky above them--had to content themselves with the moon and Saturn.

But even that was enough to stagger the hardened bunch: some of the inmates actually wept. "It propelled them so far outside of...

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