The Full Moon, Jupiter and Cadette Girl Scouts


What a beautiful night last night!  This special groups of Girl Scouts you see in the photos above have been together since they were in first grade!  We met at Brushy Creek Lake Park: a great location for an unobstructed view of the night sky. They definitely earned their Night Owl Badge last night!  They braved the cold and it was worth it.  We saw the beautiful full moon and Jupiter was right above it!  We got very close to a deer on our night hike while we were practicing our fox walk and heard some nocturnal animals up and about.  We shared personal experiences about what it is like to work at night and learned about people who work the night shift.  Thank you girls for a great evening!

Shuttle Endeavour Inspires Elementary Students

AP Photo/, Ralph Barrera

AP Photo/, Ralph Barrera

Last month on the official first day of Fall,  I walked my first grader to school. As she was putting away her bicycle, I heard kids shouting.  I thought someone fell off their bicycle or there was a car accident.  Lo and behold, everyone started to point up to the sky in excitement.  It was the space shuttle flying over her school!  Parents and kids stopped and watched in awe.  Do we honestly have to justify spending money on the space program?  The fact that it inspires young and old is enough proof for me that looking up to the sky and dreaming of what can be allows for great things to take place down here. Here is the video clip I took of Endeavour flying over Cedar Creek Elementary that morning:  shuttlestillinspires


Join me for new stargazing class offerings beginning November 6th!

If you are  8 or older and interested in learning more about our night sky then you are in luck!  Starting November 6th, I will be offering 4 stargazing classes.  Do you want to learn how to use a telescope and gain confidence in finding planets, stars and constellations? Join me for night time stargazing and learn about our night sky and how to use a telescope.  Each session will cover a different topic as well as telescope viewing.  To learn more about the classes and to register, visit the Stargazing Class section of this site. Hope to see you there!

Astro Camp Friday- ACCHaos

What a great end to a great week!  Everyone survived the late-night stargazing last night and came back ready to finish the week.  We started the day learning about astrobiology and what makes a planet habitable. We then had a visit from ACCHaos, the Austin Community College Physical Science Department’s hands-on science outreach program. Take a look at the photos below to see how fun learning can be! The day ended by seeing scientists search for extremophiles (life in extreme environments) on Earth in the IMAX movie “Amazing Caves” followed by a creative, alien making project. Thank you campers for a great week!




Astro Camp Solar System Walk Wednesday

Astro Camp photos of the day- Tuesday

Astro Camp has been great this week so far. Monday we learned about stellar evolution, had the chance to look at the Sun through Erika’s H-alpha solar telescope and see solar prominences and sun spots.  The campers saw some sunspots through my sun-funnel setup on my telescope as well.  The kids got to take home solar viewing glasses.  They learned what life would be like without supernovae (not existent!) and how black holes work. And everyday, they get to experience the inflatable planetarium! Today, we focused on the solar system, make a comet, learned about comet orbits and got to hold real meteorites. Thank you Russ FInney! Thank you Erika from the Austin Astronomical Society! More photos to come from Monday…