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September 2009 Woolaroc

September Woolaroc Astronomy Notes   (9/26/09)

Astronomy Exhibits
Several BAS members participated in a day-long astronomy event jointly sponsored by Woolaroc and the Astronomy Club of Tulsa.  Joyce Ritchie spent much of the day in front of the Heritage Center assisting with the "Star Wobble" exhibit, which demonstrated various principles that professional astronomers use to detect exoplanets around other stars.  Across the road, in front of the Museum, several ACT members had two solar observing telescopes set up for viewing, as well as a Solar System Exhibit.  Since the extended solar minimum has finally ended, Woolaroc visitors were able to see several small sunspots through the solar scopes.  Down the hill, next to the Lodge was a hands-on black hole exhibit called "Matter Down the Hole", and in front of the Event Center were two more solar observing scopes.  One of those scopes was a hydrogen-alpha scope that clearly showed a large solar flare extending from the limb of the Sun.

Evening Star Party
Throughout the day I floated from one exhibit to the next, helping where I could, and distributing BAS handouts to interested visitors.  During the afternoon, new member Steve Plank arrived, and by early evening Don Fudge and Arden Strycker arrived to set up for the evening star party.  After dark the sky was clear, the moon was a little past first quarter and Jupiter gleamed in the southeast.  Many telescopes were set up in a grassy area, with an open view of the sky, near the Event Center.  They ranged in size from small spotting scopes to a 16" Dobsonian, and included Newtonians, refractors, Schmidt-Cassegrains and large binoculars.  Woolaroc donors and staff were excited and enthusiastic about the views they saw of the Moon, Jupiter, the Ring Nebula, M13 and other deep sky objects.  As an added treat, the ISS made a bright pass overhead.  There were lots of questions and lots of oohs, and ahs and wow!s.

This was a very good event for BAS.  We had a lot of public visibility and there were many people from the Bartlesville area enthusiastic about astronomy and interested in our club.  A lot of club handouts were distributed as well as several membership application forms, so hopefully we'll have a few new attendees at future meetings.

Next Meeting
Monday, October 5 at the Bartlesville Public Library meeting room.  Joyce Ritchie will present:   "Teaching Tools for Astronomy" - A Show and Tell presentation of astronomy concepts that can be taught using hands on materials, to students in an age appropriate and tested manner.  On October 5th the initial concepts for students in grades 2 - 4 will be demonstrated..