Jan 19, 2008: Girl Scout Overnight Astronomy Camp (IV)

Michael Richmond
Feb 7, 2008

The RIT Observatory has hosted several special events for local Girl Scouts recently:

We continued with another overnight camp this winter. If the weather had been clear, we could have viewed the first-quarter Moon just a few degrees away from Mars, but VERY cold temperatures and a forecast for clouds kept us away from the Observatory. Instead, we spent the evening in Building 76. As in the past, the limit of 40 Scouts was reached quickly, so we had a full house: in addition to the girls, about 15 Scout Leaders also came and participated.

You can look at our schedule for the night (and next morning).

We arranged the Scouts into four groups and rotated them through a set of four activities. If the pictures below aren't enough for you, peruse the complete album of pictures from the Astronomy Overnight.

  1. Stacey Davis (NTID) showed the girls how to make proper scale models of the planets out of Play-Doh. This took great concentration ...

    ... but revealed just how large the gas giants are compared to the terrestrial planets.

  2. Maria Messineo (CIS postdoc) and Christine Trombley (CIS graduate student) explained the phases of the Moon with styrofoam balls, flashlights, and silly hats:

  3. Lucy Hadfield (CIS postdoc) and Russ Hadfield showed the girls how to make a model of the planet Saturn and its rings out of fruit, toothpicks, and lots and LOTS of glitter:

  4. Michael Richmond (Physics) explained how scientists use the spectrum of a star to determine its chemical makeup. Just put on these magic eyeglasses ...

    ... and see how every tube of glowing gas emits its own unique rainbow of colors. Do you know which gas is in the tube shown below?

    Read the answer here.

At around 11:20 PM, after all the groups had completed all four activities, a few energetic souls stayed up to watch the movie October Sky.

Early the next morning, I put out the fixings for breakfast and made several pots of strong coffee. The scouts and their leaders gradually woke up, ate breakfast, and headed home.

For more information

Last modified 2/7/2008 by MWR