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Paper Plate Education
"Serving the Universe on a Paper Plate"

AstroCamp 2006

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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.  astrocamp08923.JPG (31131 bytes)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. 

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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 second session of AstroCamp is July 23-29, 2006.  For reservations, contact YMCA Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, Michigan, at http://campeb.org; 269-244-5125 or 888-YCAMPEB.

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.

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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:


SQM Readings from Dave's House
at Camp Eberhart, Three Rivers, Michigan
Latitude 41.9297 N, Longitude 85.7499 W
June 27, 2006
~ 11: 15 to 11:20 p.m. EDT
Mostly Clear Sky, No Moon, Astronomical Twilight at 11:33 p.m.
Averages from 10 readings:

 Observer   SQM #   Meter Reading 
in "squims" 
Elliott P.  735 20.50
Sarah B. 730 20.17
Patrick S. 732 20.08
Justin L. 737 20.01
Paul E. 738 20.64
Chris B. 736 20.46
Sarah K. 739 19.54
Sarah K.  740 20.17
Chuck B. 731 20.55
Average   20.26

See the Night Vision Project at www.nightwise.org/nightvision.htm.


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Copyright 2012 Chuck Bueter.  All rights reserved.