Astronomy and the Environment for Families
Through highly engaging and activity packed sessions, participants will learn about various astronomy topics. Each session will also include information from the International Dark Sky Association about reasonable, cost effective strategies to help us all preserve darkness as an ecological resource.
To bolster your “astro-literacy” sign up for each individual session to complete the series or select the ones of your choice. All classes are taught by Ranger Bob, well known at Duke Farms as a knowledgeable instructor who facilitates fun and enriching learning experiences for all.
January 26 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm: Observations of our Magnetic Sun
There is no fire on the Sun! All that energy is electromagnetic. We will share fun solar facts, learn about sun spots, the Northern Lights and review great pictures of the 2017 Total Eclipse of the Sun. After the classroom session, we will set up a specialized, h-alpha solar telescope that will let us safely observe the Sun and provide us views of any sunspots or solar prominences that might be visible. Every child will receive a UV sensitive bead bracelet and learn why it changes color in sunlight.
February 22 from 1:00pm -2:30pm: A Virtual Tour of the Moon
Marvel as the Moon shares her varied geography. Our program will include the concepts of Moon phases, eclipses and tides as well as vivid, close-up images of the lunar terrain and Apollo landing sites. You will also create your own crater and using your phone, capture the impact! Simulations of rotation and revolutions are included in this activity-based class. Every attendee will leave with a Lunar Observation Journal to complete a follow - up activity at home.
March 6 from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Finding Your Way in the Night Sky
Are the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt all you can identify in the night sky? How about all the other stars up there? Can you see the constellations and name them? Become a stargazer with experience! Make a star wheel to take home and help your family navigate and appreciate the heavens from your own back yard. No telescope needed! Learn to find more than 20 constellations, asterisms and bright “anchor” stars. Every family will receive a planisphere, or star wheel, to assemble and use in their own backyard to reinforce the orientation to stargazing that they'll experience at the class. Observe Venus and the Moon with our telescope, weather permitting.
March 21 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm: Our Solar System - Worlds in Comparison
Each of our "neighborhood" planets has unique properties and stories that we will share. Did you know that the planets only make up the first THIRD of the solar system? Two fun family activities will dispel the misconceptions most of us have about the planets' sizes and their orbital distances.