Browsing articles from "June, 2012"

They Have to See It To Be It!

Jun 25, 2012   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz, NASA, The Launch Pad  //  No Comments

Source: nasa.gov via Pamela on Pinterest


Working with the students at Corliss High School this year has been a truly wonderful experience. Located not far from Chicago Public School’s Fenger Academy, the once home of my NASA K-12 program, the Corliss students are faced with similar academic and social issues as most of the students who attend some of our academically challenged neighborhood schools. As we look at solutions to ensure all of our students get a quality education that includes rigor and offers opportunities to develop future career skills through engaging, hands-on projects and competitions. While talking to a colleague at Corliss, our conversation turned to a philosophy that I have believed in for many years as an educator. For our children to dream to become a computer programmer, astronaut, engineer, systems analyst, web designer, and all of the other STEM careers that are and yet to be available for them to purse, they have to see people who look like them, have shared similar experiences, and can be honest in explaining that STEM is rewarding but comes with hard work and perseverance.

This is why all of us who work to increase the number of historically underrepresented and underserved populations in STEM have to have a personal, vested interest in our young people and be willing to give back. That give back doesn’t have to be in tangible dollars and often becoming a mentor or volunteer with a STEM program can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. The NASA Great Moonbuggy Race was my latest endeavor and one of my most challenging but the students at Corliss stepped up to the plate and tackled the task. As I prepare for the 2013 competition, I am looking to bring more young STEM professionals to become part of my STEM efforts so the students understand that it is not an impossible dream. NASA did a feature story on me and my students and I am extending an invitation to those STEM folks out there to please join me in inspiring our young people in the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

TRANSIT OF VENUS…The last viewing chance of our lifetime!

Jun 1, 2012   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

I’m sharing this information, received from my friend Vivian Hoette, Education Outreach Coordinator at Yerkes Observatory on viewing opportunites for Tuesday’s Transit of Venus event. If you can’t make it to a live viewing event, there are links below that you can visit to watch it online.

From the Yerkes Yoteach mailing list:

On June 5, 2012, Venus will cross the Sun marking an astronomical event you won’t want to miss! It is the last one in our lifetimes. (Next one is 2117.) Observing this event from multiple locations on Earth is how astronomers figured out the Astronomical Unit (AU, distance from Earth to the Sun). And, therefore the size of the cosmos! Now astronomers are using transits of planets across other stars to find exoplanets.

Big Foot Beach State Park (East Side of Lake Geneva) and Yerkes Observatory are hosting viewing events for the Transit of Venus. We will have sunspotters, solar scopes, solar filtered telescopes, and eclipse glasses for sale.

Preserve your eyes! VIEW SAFELY – DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY at the Sun, and NEVER EVER through a telescope Unless it has a SOLAR FILTER over the OBJECTiVE (large opening of the telescope).

You can see Venus cross the Sun from about 5:04pm to sunset in the midwest. Our events begin at 4pm and continue through sunset. Attached here are a couple of flyers that we made for this event.

You may download these and give them to your students or post them at school, or modify them to meet your needs. We also have lots of eclipse glasses for sale at Yerkes ($2) or in bundles for schools (limited supply) at $1 each if you pick them up from Yerkes.

If you would like some advice or help setting up a way to view the transit and sun safely, please contact us and we will try to help. If you are in the area, and would like to help out at Yerkes or another location (such as the Township Park in Delavan at the east end of the lake, or at the Duck Pond in Fontana, we can loan you a solar scope that projects a 5 inch image (approx) of the sun to see sunspots and the Venus transit.

Though many will be able to see the transit in eclipse glasses, a magnified projected view or telescope solar filtered view will be best. (Solar filters must be put in place on the objective (large) end of the telescope. We have some solar filter film (limited supply) ordered that will arrive on Monday, in case you are really interested in making your own solar filter. Please let us know and be at Yerkes on Monday to build it.)

Webpages to help you out….
Register for Big Foot Beach State Park or Yerkes Observatory Events http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/venus (If you want to help out you can let us know in the comments area.)
Event Locations http://venustransit.nasa.gov/2012/transit/event_locations.php
2012 Transit of Venus — Shadows on the Sun (by NASA) http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/transitofvenus/
NASA page http://venustransit.nasa.gov Live webcast and everything about the Transit of Venus
Transit of Venus (by Chuck Bueter) www.transitofvenus.org
Transit of Venus (by Astronomers Without Borders) http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/
Yerkes information page about the Transit http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/sun/
Freinds of Big Foot Beach State Park http://fbfbsp.org/transit/
Safe Solar Viewing http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2012/transit/viewing.php
Sun Funnel http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/observing/build-a-sun-funnel/ (Wehave a limited supply of the rear projection screen material. Pay attention to the eyepiece focal length needed listed in a chart in this document to put in the projection funnel; you will need your own eyepiece.)
Kepler Explanet Transit Hunt http://kepler.nasa.gov/multimedia/Interactives/keplerFlashAdvDiscovery/#
Hubble to use Moon as a Transit Mirror http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/transit-mirror.html
Yerkes & Big Foot Transit Poster http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/img/sun/Venus_Transit.jpg


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