Paper Plate Education
At Astrocamp, a stargazing adventure in Three Rivers, Michigan, boys and girls experienced firsthand the joys of observing the night sky. From the moment they arrived, AstroCampers handled telescope on the shores of Corey Lake and learned constellations in a portable planetarium. They then used their new skills--after making s'mores by the campfire--to identify celestial features and to discover deep sky objects over four consecutive nights. Observed highlights included Saturn, Mars, the waxing crescent moon, lots of Messier objects (nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies), satellites, and more.
By day, AstroCampers witnessed solar activity safely both through white light filters and through a hydrogen-alpha telescope. They combined their views of the sun on paper plates, recording emerging sunspots and outlying prominences.
Other daytime activities included making and using Star Wheels, making a paper sundial, identifying stars and constellations on a celestial scavenger hunt, using computers with astronomy software, and building and launching water rockets.
After astronomical twilight ended and night set in, several kids who stayed up late measured the sky glow (below) with Sky Quality Meters (SQMs) in support of the Night Vision project. While at Astrocamp 2006, Alex S. wrote a poem about the stars and her experience at Camp Eberhart.
A July 12, 2006, article (Camping with the stars) in the South Bend Tribune recounts some of the AstroCamp events at http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060712/News04/607120543/-1/NEWS04/CAT=News04.
The images below are from the AstroCamp held June 25 through July 1, 2006. Images from other AstroCamp stargazing adventures are linked from the Astrocamp Home Page.
Images from the second week of AstroCamp 2006, below, are courtesy of Debra Lazar.
For observing conditions at the AstroCamp site, visit the Yarger
Observatory Clear Sky Clock at
Other links from AstroCamp:
Readings from Dave's House
See the Night Vision Project at www.nightwise.org/nightvision.htm.
Copyright ©2012 Chuck Bueter. All rights reserved.