Although our three-day astronomy venture is over, many of us feel more confident journeying fourth into the future of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics!
We began our third and final day with learning about theories and laws of science, specifically, equations. We spoke on formulas such as E=mc2 created by Einstein, which helps us understand energy, mass, and the speed of light in a vacuum. We also learned about escape velocity, the speed of light, and covered some of Newton’s laws of motion such as F=ma, which helps us understand force, mass, and acceleration.
To help us understand the theories and implications of inertia, Bobby Farlice-Rubio displayed for us that when objects with mass push off from force they create velocity.
After breaking for lunch, we learned why and how telescopes search for stars and planets, using examples of the known universe with the app Exoplanet. We also explored the recently uncovered Trappist-1 systems to explain goldilocks zones, how dips in brightness from monitoring stars lead us to discovering planets, and more notably, how rovers and orbiters offer an even greater insight into what conditions may be like on other worlds.
We also learned about the evolutionary phases of stars that form in stellar nurseries, or nebulas, in the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium. We even quickly spoke on that illusive mystery topic: black holes! Students then got a closer look at just a few different methods used with telescopes to detect radiation particles in the most extreme, coldest conditions possible, for example below, using dry ice to detect (harmless) uranium particles we otherwise couldn’t see in room temperatures.
The last part of our day, and perhaps the highlight of the entire program, was building our rockets that we later on launched! While some students were already experienced rocket builders, it was a wonderful learning experience for the newest of engineers.
Then of course, the culmination event, the grand finale, the launch and take-off of our rockets! We were so thankful for our parachutes for us to take our rockets home as souvenirs, and many of us have left not only with amazing memories and new, vast banks of knowledge of astronomy, but also with new friends who love science just as much as they do.
Rocket launch photos by Sarah Walls
We are ever thankful to lead the next leaders of Earth and space science exploration. With our final day of Astronomy Camp now over, students have now truly explored such a vast amount of topics. Here at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, it’s our mission to inspire appreciation of our place in the natural world and to motivate our stewardship of a healthy planet.
Astronomy Camp is now over. This camp is annual, and you may find more information by viewing the program page here.
Thank you to all of your students, parents, educators, supporters, and contributors of the 2017 Astronomy Camp! See you next year!