Blog

Annular Solar Eclipse this Sunday

We won’t be in the best viewing spot to see the annular solar eclipse, however we will be able to see less than half of the eclipse before sunset here in Austin.  What we can see here will begin at 7:35pm and the maximum annular eclipse we will see will be at 8:20pm.  Remember to not look at the Sun with your naked eye.  To learn about eclipse viewing safety visit: http://www.perkins-observatory.org/eclipsesafety.html#methods

For a table that shows viewing times from locations visit: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OHtables/OH2012-Tab03.pdf

For more information about annular solar eclipses visit: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2012/ASE2012.html

For a great article with a great picture of what is possible to be seen in Austin visit: http://earthsky.org/space/for-u-s-observers-annular-or-ring-eclipse-sunday-may-20

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Making telescopes at the Austin Mini Maker Faire

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Brave telescope makers at the Austin Mini Makers Faire.  We ran out fast!  For instructions on how to make the telescopes we made today visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msIAdyljrwI (Thank you stormthecastle.com for the youtube tutorial) I ordered the lenses from the Surplus Shed: http://www.surplusshed.com/lens.cfm We used a 50cm focal length and a 5cm focal length double convex lens, both with 38 mm diameter. http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/l1907d.html and http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/l1901d.html.  The rest of the materials we used: cardboard, an X-acto knife, scissors, tape, glue and a paper towel roll. Happy telescope making!

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5 week course for ages 5-13 ends

What a great course we had!  By the end of it everyone was finding the planets all by themselves in the telescopes.  Everyone could pick out the major constellations, and towards the end we started having conversations about life on other planets and discussing theories about the formation of the solar system.  It was a joy to get to know everyone who took the course as well as their parents.  I don’t know who asked more questions, the kids or the parents!  We saw Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus and various phases it went through over the course.  We learned about the phases of the Moon, how eclipses work, the upcoming transit of Venus, the reason for the seasons, the fact that the North star isn’t always the pole star, and how immense in size our universe and solar system really is.  If you are interested in signing up for the next course, click on the link: Course for ages 8 and up.

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