This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center we discussed the planet Venus so you could make your own decision: Sister Planet or Evil Twin? A crushing atmosphere of carbon dioxide that rains acid and snows metals, surface temperature so hot it would melt lead, a surface covered in volcanos, it's day is actually longer than its year, it spins upside down... WHAT!!!... Most attendees voted EVIL TWIN! The clouds kept us from telescope viewing afterwards so we used the time talking with folks one on one. As usual, a great time at 'SMEEC'.
Next month at the center, join us on Friday, 25 August at 6:30 PM for 'Our Moon: Let's Go There'. Everyone is welcome.
This month at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about rockets! Their history, design, operation, and future. How do we get all those astronomy satellites into orbit? This month's attendees know! It was a hot evening here in Phoenix so we spent most of the time in the cool assembly room but we still set up our telescopes afterwards. Ask anyone who attended this event and they can tell you just from this one picture what all the smoke is from, what kind of rocket engine is being used, what those tall thin towers are for, why the water tower, and how this rocket is controlled. Another fun event with all our new 'Rocket Scientist' friends!
Next month at the center, Friday, 21 July: 'Venus: Sister Planet or Evil Twin?'
What a great event at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center! There was something going on for all! Displays and presentations on astronomy, biology, 3D Printing, animals and plants that live in the South Mountain Park, and even a huge box of Legos for kids to make their own creations with. Above top we are giving a primer on the upcoming Solar Eclipse. We talked about the types of eclipses, how they occur, how often they occur, and how to safely view the eclipse happening on 21 August. We also had a static display as shown above where attendees placed vials of elements on a periodic table of the elements, a solar observing display, a globe of the moon, passed around gyroscopes that demonstrated the relationship to earth's spin, and a sample telescope for all to practice operating. Afterwards we took that telescope out to view Jupiter. Come join us for our very unique next event at the center on Friday, 23 June. A presentation all about space rockets.
This month's public event at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center was all about Jupiter. We reviewed some astrophysics basics then dived right in to understand this planet of superlatives. We all acted as observational scientists as we took notes on images like those that would have been seen by Galileo through his crude telescope in 1610. Then, WOW... as the next presentation slide showed, our notes were just like an actual page from Galileo's notebook! We then talked about how those notes were changing the scientific process. Both for the good of the scientific community and bad for Galileo. We studied Jupiter's composition, surface storms, radiation and magnetic environments, the Great Red Spot, the four 'Galilean' moons, and the scientific satellites sent to study this king of all planets. We then went outside to observe the planet through telescopes to see up close the beauty of this planet, but now knowing how hostile and violent this 'big bully' of the solar system actually is.
Next month's presentation at the center is not to be missed. All about rockets! History, types, design, successes and failures, and future methods of space rocket propulsion systems. Start your journey to become a rocket scientist by attending this unique astronomy presentation on Friday, 23 June starting at 6:30 PM.
South Mountain Community College held their E.A.R.T.H Forward Summit (Education / Adaptation / Resiliency / Technology / Humanity) and Arizona Star Tales was privileged and excited to be a part of it. Next to the popular drone exhibit and their race course, we set up our Solar Display that included the Hydrogen Alpha Telescope feeding a TV monitor. Since a large crowd was expected, we used our larger canopy to accommodate the display and a good thing because this turned out to be a popular and well attended event. Above you see the presentation on how our Sun provides us with our energy needs. Go SMCC!
This month's South Mountain Environmental Education Center's event was very unique! "Telescopes: From Humble to Hubble". We extended the presentation to an hour and a half to cover this very interesting and intriguing subject. Telescope history, types, design, recognition, and the future. We even assembled one to show how each component works. Can you describe the design and operation of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope? The event attendees can!
We held a Solar Event at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center today! Here you see our display with the Hydrogen Alpha Telescope to the left and our Sun Spotter to the right. The telescope uses an astronomical video camera so everyone can see and discuss the surface of the Sun on a TV monitor under the canopy. Under the canopy we also have display items and show what can be used to safely view the upcoming Solar Eclipse on 21 August. These Solar Events are becoming a popular attraction at the center as visitors pass by on their way to the many exhibits inside the center or as they start a nice desert mountain hike. We hope to see you there during one of these!
We again held our monthly public event at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center. This event was all about constellations. Their history, how they evolved, how the stars in them are named, and described how a sextant works that uses the stars for navigation. We even discussed how Astrology evolved through the different cultures and used a spinning precision gyroscope to demonstrate why there are now thirteen Zodiak signs instead of the twelve we are so familiar with and used to. Yes! A gyroscope to describe Astrology! Again, we were fortunate to have a nice clear sky for telescope viewing afterwards. Another fun event! Next month is 'Telescopes: From Humble to Hubble'. We hope to see you there!
We were a part of the South Mountain Environmental Education Center's monthly 'Full Moon Walk' by providing a remote TV monitor view of the Full Moon using our refractor telescope and astronomical video camera at the end of their Ranger lead walk through the park where the wonders of the desert night were discussed. They even used ultraviolet lights to find scorpions! As we were looking at the monitor, a jet flew right in front of the Full Moon! I took a quick phone camera shot of the monitor screen. Those jet contrails were very unique to see against the Moon! Whenever we're at the center, something always exciting happens!
'Nebulas - Where Stars Are Born!' was the topic for this month's 'Explore The Night Sky' at South Mountain Environmental Education Center. We talked about the types of nebulas, how we can tell if they're moving and in what direction, what types of stars are made from them, and even had audience volunteers help us demonstrate how light interacts with electrons which allows astronomers to determine what nebulas are made of! Then, we went out into the clear, crisp desert evening and viewed the Orion Nebula through our telescopes. Another fun public event with the South Mountain Environmental Education Center! We hope to see you during our next public event there on 24 March for 'Constellations - Maps of the Night Sky'.
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