Beginning Astronomy Camp


Welcome to our Astronomy Camp Blog for the 2019 Beginning Camp. In this space, we will post updates about our activities, pictures we've taken, and have students share their thoughts and experiences as the week progresses.

June 15th

Good morning. Is it morning? It's light out I suppose that means we slept. Everyone is smiling and working on Chromebooks preparing their Project Artimis. My nose says that most everyone showered which is a great relief. #aquaponics The counselors are a little slap happy but are excited to hear what the students have reserached and imagined. Our last day is filled with celebration, presentations, birthdays, and tasty treats. More to come as we march toward the finish line. -- Wayne

June 14th

Hello Parents! We are having a stellar time here at camp! (See what we did there?)

On the 13th we woke up early to meet a group of scientists, who would show us their study of hummingbirds. We got to hold them, learn all about their anatomy, and social habits. After a quick breakfast, we traveled down to Tucson, and grabbed Eegee's for lunch. We drove to the Biosphere 2, a recreation of many biomes we have here on earth! We went on a VIP tour, taking us all over the site. We decided to go to Biosphere 2, as it correlates to our Project Artemis. We learned that the Biospherians (the residential scientists) faced similar problems we would face when designing our missions. We had to think about water conservation, sustainable farming, and even waste management!

We went to the university campus for dinner, but before we made a pit-stop at the Richard F. Caris mirror laboratory. We got to view five of the seven mirrors being made for the GMT telescope, which after completion, will be the biggest telescope in the world! We headed back to Mt. Bigelow to use it's 61" telescope, then going to bed.

Today, the 14th, we started our morning off with a solar system hike. We hiked a scale size solar system with accurate stops for the planets. After the hike, we came back to enjoy a delicious lunch.

-Sarah, Lauren, Zsa Zsa, and Joslyn (Arizona)

June 13th

Our campers had such a full day today that they don't have time to tell you about it themselves! We had an early start helping University of Arizona researchers working on hummingbird populations on top of the mountain, before departing for a day trip to Tucson where we visited Biosphere 2. We stopped for a tamale dinner before touring the University of Arizona's Mirror Lab and seeing three of the mirrors being made for the world's largest telescope. One drive back up the mountain later, we were at the 61" Kuiper telescope until after 3AM observing the skies!

Now that we're all back and rested, our campers will fill you in on what they did themselves, so stay tuned!

-Andrew, counselor

June 12th

Today we woke up at 8:30 AM, which is 10:30 AM in Illinois (where I live). We built a pinhole telescope after breakfast and got to look in the area of the sun. We then built "cars" out of wood, nails, rubber bands, string, and a block. We built cars following Newton's law #3. Then, we did phases of the moon and learned at what time will each moon phase rise and set. Next was spectrum talk. We got a presentation about this. We then looked through special glasses where we could see a spectrum with each light bulb. We are currently working on a project called "Breakthrough Artemis", where we are looking for a destination to go to if the Earth died in 600 years. Now as of the time of this, we are looking through a 61 inch mirror telescope (10:00 PM or 12:00 PM Illinois time). Overall, today and since we started camp has been a very fun experience!

- Luke (Illinois)

Hello parents!

Today was really great. We learned about radio astronomy from the counselor, Samantha. With our groups, we built "cars" using the tension of rubber bands which propelled the cars forward. This was to demonstrate Newton's laws. Later, we set up the volleyball net, but we couldn't use it today so we have to play tomorrow :( In the gym, we used lollipop looking things and a light to model the phases of the moon with the earth. We also ate some spaghetti with AMAZING garlic bread. Currently, we are at the Kuiper telescope. We've looked at the Sombrero Galaxy (which looked like a smudge because it was cloudy), a close-up of the moon (which was very nice and clear), and Arcturus (which was bright). WE MADE AMAZING FRIENDS, Bode, Peter, Nico, Jacob, Owen, Lauren, Dennis, Rosie, and more! We have a bunch of nicknames for all of our friends *cough cough* because ONE of us can't remember the names *cough cough* CESSIE. TOMORROW we might be waking up at 5 am to hold hummingbirds!


~Brookie (Texas), FranCESCA (Illinois), and Anissia (Tennessee)

Dr. McCarthy, you are our fav and our idol. Thanks for always making puns! We are always over the moon! (get it, its a pun, lol)

p.s we're smart don't worry.

June 11th

Day 2 of Camp - The sequel to Day 1

The first part of today we woke up to the bright clear skies of Mount Lemmon and came to breakfast rested and cheerie. This will change as we stay up alllllll night in the coming days. Still excited but with less fuel to burn before eating. We eat and do activities together in the Mount Lemmon Sky Center Learning Center.

After we talked about the day and ate a scrumptious breakfast we started learning about the path the Sun takes through the sky. The campers are keeping track of how the Sun moves throughout the day.

We also hiked the site and saw a 22-degree Sun Halo while investigating the 60inch Minnesota telescope. We then hiked to all of the other scopes we will be using and took a rest in the 32inch Schulman telescope.

The afternoon was spent inside inflatable planetariums, learning about light and waves, and exploring the Apollo missions their teams are named after. Can't wait for the clear evening skies!!! -- Wayne

Dark Adaption Music - Saturn - Sleeping At Last

June 10th

Welcome to Beginning Astronomy Camp 2019! Thank you to all the families who were able to join us for our opening session yesterday. The campers had a smooth trip up the mountain to the Mount Lemmon Skycenter, where we moved into the dorms before watching a beautiful (although slightly cloudy) sunset from the mountaintop. After dinner, the campers had a naked eye observing session of the sky before heading to bed in preparation for a busy first full day.

The campers will be taking over the blog to tell you all about their experiences tomorrow -- look forward to it!

Dark Adaption Music - Phantom of the Opera - Music of the Night -


Our Camp begins on June 10th, when we will meet on the University of Arizona campus, have our kickoff event, and then travel to Mt. Lemmon (pictured above). Looking forward to seeing everyone then! Don't forget to check back daily once Camp starts to see updates on the day's activities!