Here we see the South Mountain Environmental Education Center's Optical Deep Space Imaging Telescope System that Arizona Star Tales was the designer and contractor for ready for the 'First Light' Dedication event on 14 Sept, 2018. Here the system is imaging the Moon in full daylight real time using a Mallincam astronomical video camera. After the dedication when it got dark, we switched to our ZWO Camera with Hyperstar system to take deep sky object images and showed them on a large TV monitor. The event drew a huge crowd with lots of 'OH WOWs' all evening long as new images were displayed. The addition of this system further demonstrates how the South Mountain Environmental Education Center is dedicated to STEM education by continually expanding their offerings using current technologies.
The Optical Deep Space Imaging (ODSI) Telescope at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center is now complete! Arizona Star Tales was the designer and contractor for this system through the generous donation of an astronomy supporter. This system will be used for astronomy education for local High Schools and colleges. The system consists of an Astro-Physics GTO1100 Mount, a Celestron 11" Edge HD Telescope, and a ZWO camera using a Hyperstar imaging system. This system allows imaging of deep space objects such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters supporting STEM projects in astronomy and optics.
The Moon: We Went There!
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center (SMEEC) was all about the Moon. How it formed, its features, and how we got there to leave footprints on it. It was a nice evening in Phoenix as we went out afterwards and looked at it through telescopes, along with studying Venus and the Orion Nebula. Another great evening sharing the universe with SMEEC visitors. Join us next month at SMEEC, Friday, 18 May at 6:30PM, as we present 'Jupiter: King of the Planets!'.
Light: How We Explore the Universe
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about light and how we use it to learn about the universe. We all got to look through spectroscopes to show how they break star light down into its individual colors and what they tell us. We passed out light filters that demonstrated how they turned what appeared to be a mess of colors into individual objects! We also learned about Red Shift and how it tells us about the movement of objects. Another great evening ended with our guests understanding how light tells us temperature, composition, and the movement of the universe. Join us next month on Friday, 23 March when we will learn all about telescopes. See you there!
Pluto - Planet or Not?
December's subject at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about Pluto. We ended the year discussing this controversial object that is so close to the hearts of Arizona... Why?... Because it was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff! Join us on 26 January at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center as we start the new year with 'Basics of Astronomy - What's all up there?' Go to the NEXT EVENT page for details.
Meteors, Asteroids, and Comets, OH, MY!
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about meteors, asteroids, and comets. We took a close look at these 'Solar System Leftovers' in detail. What they are, where they come from, what the're made of, how to tell the difference, what happens when they hit our planet, and why astronomers are so interested in learning more about them. It was surprising to find just how many craters on earth are still visible from large strikes in the past! The cloudy sky prevented telescope viewing, but it gave us a chance to stay afterwards answering questions and discussing the wonders of the night sky. Next month's event is 'Pluto: Planet or Not?' Friday, 29 Dec, 6:30PM.
Saturn - The Ringed Planet
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about Saturn. Besides talking about what the rings are made of and how they formed, we concentrated on the Casinni-Huygens Satellite Mission and some of the things it taught us about the planet and its largest moon... Titan. We marveled at some of the pictures sent back from this historic mission. There was certainly lots of "Oooo's" and "Ahhh's" as we flipped through slide after slide! Afterwards we had our telescopes set up and viewed the wonders of the night sky with our guests. Another great night! Next month, 17 November, will be all about Meteors, Asteroids, and Comets. Information is on the Next Event page. Come join us!
The Sun, Our Star
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about the Sun. The picture above shows how the Sun looks through three different types of filters that we discussed. We also discussed the origin and make up of the Sun and the different types of energies it supplies the Earth. We also described how Sun Block works and showed a video of how it blocks the skin-damaging ultraviolet waves. Afterwards was a nice clear evening for telescope viewing as we observed Saturn, Neptune, the Ring Nebula, Star Clusters, and even the Andromeda Galaxy! Another great evening at SMEEC!
Phases of the Moon
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about the Moon. We discussed the Apollo Program and the detail workings of the Guidance and Navigation Computer and the Alignment Optical Telescope used to determine their position that lead to the lunar landings. We also discussed the Moon's origin and features. Here we demonstrate what causes the phases of the Moon. Afterwards outside we had a video camera attached to one of our telescopes to show the crescent Moon on a TV screen so attendees could see as a group the details we discussed inside. Then they used our other telescopes to see the features up close. Another fun event! Next month on Friday, 29 September the event will be all about the Sun, our star.
Arizona Star Tales supported the Arizona Museum of Natural History by setting up an eclipse display at their 'Eclipse Party'.
Fun video showing us setting up the display telescopes for the Arizona Museum of Natural History's 'Eclipse Party'.
ARIZONA STAR TALES - NOTE: Until further notice, all events have been cancelled and no requests are being accepted at this time due to the pandemic