2013 07 22 – Austin Planetarium’s Astro Camp

This is the second year I’ve had the pleasure to provide solar views during the Starry Sky Austin Astro Camp week at the All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Austin. My first experience was at the 2012 Astro Camp and this year was just as fun.

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Lucia Brimer of the Austin Planetarium and Amy Jackson of Starry Sky Austin are the two astronomy educators of this program. They provide three tiers for the camp:

ASTRO CAMP I: PLANETS, STARS, AND TELESCOPES (ages 8-11)
ASTRO CAMP II: ASTRONAUTS, ROCKETS, AND ROVERS (ages 9-12)
ASTRO CAMP JUNIOR: PLANETS, STARS, AND TELESCOPES (ages 6-8)

During my solar outreach session, we had three educators and 20 children. With the help of two volunteers, Earth’s scale to the proper size in relation to the Sun was demonstrated using NASA’s Sun Pizza handouts. Topics also covered were the layers of the Sun, solar storms and how they can affect Earth, magnetic fields, solar features in various bandwidths and safe solar observing. We talked a little about the current active regions and the importance of studying the Sun. I also brought cool NASA handouts to introduce them to the Solar Dynamics Observatory and SOHO. With any luck, they’ll share what they’ve learned with their family and visit the websites printed on the handouts to learn more about the Sun!

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One of the educators brought a telescope with a Sun funnel. I brought a dual mount with my double-stacked h-alpha 60mm Maxscope and a stopped down 102mm refractor, also equipped with a Sun funnel.

The Astro Camp is such a fun way to get kids interested in astronomy – thanks Starry Sky Austin and Austin Planetarium!

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~ by Erika Rix on July 23, 2013.

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