This is our 16th year doing outreach
around the State of Oregon and occasionally into Washington and California. We visit approximately 300
each school year, fairly evenly distributed in grade levels.
LOGISTICS OF OUTREACH SESSIONS: (contents in next section)
General Info: I'm (Rick Kang) probably the person that will come
classroom. The program is a collaborative extension of University of Oregon's Professor Greg Bothun's "Electronic
Universe" project (see http://zebu.uoregon.edu).
We may have other outreach instructors available during the year,
in the Portland and Central Oregon
areas. We create specific sessions for each class, grade
addressing specific topics you want covered.
The program fits into many areas of science curriculum FOR ALL GRADE
INCLUDING EARLY ELEMENTARY. Content tie-ins can be forces,
cycles, electricity, matter and energy, radiation/waves, general
science, and some areas of geology, meteorology, and ecology.
specific Earth Science/Astronomy program, the Electronic Universe can
well as an introduction to how we probe deep space as well as answering
questions later on and providing a capstone conclusional activity such
of our digital labs (see below for details).
The overall program is called the Electronic Universe because we use
present a lot of electronics and digital technology. We feature
major digital items: Professor Bothun's new JAVA (interactive
virtual physics labs/demos, projects using a CCD (digital camera), and
Research Institute's new Sun-Earth-Moon virtual reality software.
I like at least 60-90 minutes, but we can do a 30-45 minute session or
sessions. I don't mind doing several repeat sessions during a
Minimally, I bring a laptop and LCD projector, so the room needs to
screen, be darkenable, and have a table for the projector and
If we are doing any of the technology pieces, then I bring in a
Camera and/or a small Telescope. If we are doing basic Solar
System/Sun-Earth-Moon, we may do some activities outdoors (scale
For the technology/measuring the sky program, there is extensive
setup, about 30 minutes, and also similar take-down time, and several
gear to transport, so placing me in one location and rotating classes
best. Since we do a lot of "hands-on" activities, classes
should be under 30 students. We have found that "assemblies"
don't work for our main inquiry-based type of program. If
like a show-and-tell or pictureshow type of general program for an
that can be arranged, but our program is primarily an inquiry-based
introduction to the science of astrophysics, with a lot of
My schedule can get booked full particularly in the Spring, so please
me several weeks in advance if possible.
Costwise, this year (Fall, 2005), we’re looking at a two-tiered
Oregon Space Grant funding has unfortunately not materialized thus far:
We’re continuing the “sliding scale”, $10-up for reimbursement of
Pine Mountain’s equipment use costs, per school.Generally
we look at $10/class,
we do a multi-day
multi-session program, could reach $100, but is very negotiable.Here’s the change:For
classes beyond LaneCounty (travel, particularly overnight stay
involved), I will need reimbursement
of my travel expenses (fuel, car rental, meals, lodging) that OSG
proposed to cover.We need to reach
agreement on reimbursement provisions/amount prior to my travel.We’re hoping that alternative funding sources
will be found.
continue to donate my
time, I am only requesting travel costs be covered.
CONTENTS OF OUTREACH CLASS SESSIONS:
Variety of programs for ALL grade levels:
The basic presentation covers how students at any grade level can do
science with the Sky by making observations and measurements. For
and higher we provide an introduction to how data can be collected
and how digital data can be measured and put to use. We generally
present historical narratives, collections of statistics, nor cover
constellation information or lore (we can point you to resources for
Prep session, prior to outreach, is very important, particularly to
vocabulary of objects and vastness of space. See below for
topics, and about the free prep video available.
Basic Theme: Surveying the Sky: If we examine the sky with our
a telescope, or with a camera, what do we see?
Can we characterize and classify objects by making observations?
Sorting out objects by apparent size and brightness.
Observing change in appearance and position over time.
Arranging our data to use the data to draw rational conclusions.
Making models to explain our observations.
What are "physical characteristics" of objects/phenomena?
Can we measure such characteristics of very distant objects?
We are concerned with the inquiry-based process of scientific research,
with "factoids". Our program stays away from
"factoids" and does not deal with topics such as constellation
lore/history (although these topics are excellent cross-curriculum
content!) Often we deal with questions that do not have a "right
answer" nor even any answer at this time.
We encourage students to collect and evaluate data.
Integrated with the above investigative strategies, here are some of
specific content areas that we can work with your students to explore:
a. Introduction to the Solar System:
beyond: We can address motions/views of Sun-Earth-Moon and Solar
using kinesthetic models, a new dynamic virtual reality graphical
models, and lots of images from various professional sources. Why
planets and stars spherical? Why do they rotate? Why do the
orbit the Sun in a plane? Why do we see the Moon and certain
at certain times? This program is suitable for early elementary,
be adapted for higher grades where students need information for the
Curriculum Goals Earth-in-Space Benchmarks.
b. Introduction to Technologies to Explore Deep Space:
How we know what we know about very distant objects/phenomena:
We bring a small Telescope plus a portable CCD Camera that students can
explore how distant light is collected and detected, and how digital
be enhanced and measured. What are the two basic
can these measurements tell us about characteristics of distant
This material is very suitable for grades 4-12 and portions can be
We also use a variety of high tech JAVA based interactive graphical
"applets" developed by Professor Greg Bothun at U of O to illustrate
various principles of physics and astrophysics such as production of
production of thermal spectrum, and nature of detectors.
Greg and ORI are both developing new virtual lab activities and we'll
these as they become available.
c. Computer Labs: Two years ago we commenced this
activity, six schools,
from grades 3-12 were successful. We preload free FITSVIEW image
software plus a series of images to analyze. There are four
of images taken one night apart, that have one of the four outer
(Saturn-Pluto) in each pair of images. The job of the students is
the planet in each pair of images and then to identify which planet by
relative shift from night to night and also comparing brightness. We do
a follow-up to the in-class session described in part b, above.
school has a Windows or Mac lab, you can participate.
d. Overview of the Cassini-Hugens Mission to Saturn and TitanOR
Exploration Rovers Mission: A powerpoint presentation covering
of Cassini mission, spacecraft, flight, scientific goals, and showing
images sent back from Saturn and its Moons. This program will
larger groups/assemblies. We do some scale model activities but
focus on the information and pictures supplied by NASA and JPL.
furnish teachers with a summary handout sheet including URLs.
creating a new
Mars program for this year, to coincide with the close approach of
Mars later this Fall.We’ll show latest
data, discuss the findings from the past year of Mars exploration, and
course, bring the model
for the students
to test drive.
WORKSHEETS and EVALUATION SHEETS:
Most teachers have requested use of worksheets for classes at 5th grade
and higher. We normally bring a fill-in-the-blank style worksheet
duplication and distribution at start of class.
We can send the master to you ahead of time if you wish to print it
Sometimes we encourage students to use a blank piece of paper and then
notes together on a projected window from the laptop.
We supply a key for the teacher for use in review after the class.
We also bring a page for students with a few questions to fill out for
for us on how the classes can be improved, and we supply teachers with
detailed questionaire. These surveys can be mailed back to me and
usually done for homework or the next day, as our sessions usually run
whole class period.
Tom Cleveland, of Think Video/Lane Community Cable Television, and I,
together a 28-minute introductory video for use prior to the outreach
or as a stand-alone INTRODUCTION to EXPLORING DEEP SPACE. The
suitable for ALL grade levels, but particularly suitable for Elementary
Middle School. We start with a brief introduction to the
space by taking an imaginary flight upward from Earth, noting the
requirements of leaving the atmosphere and running out of air.
Next we cover, using models, the vocabulary of Moon, Planet, Star/Sun,
System, Nebula, Galaxy, and Universe. Then we create a scale
model of the
Solar System and beyond on a real football field, an activity you can
Finally we explore the basic concepts of light, introducing viewers to
"photons", and noting that to "see" anything we need a
source of photons and a detector of photons (stars and our eyes).
the whole program together with a final demonstration with a flashlight
how photons from a distant source spread out, thus why objects in deep
are so dim, so hard to explore.
The actual classroom outreach program then gives the students the
to explore the collection/detection/measuring technologies (telescopes
cameras) and includes computer labs where actual research can be done.
When you contact me to schedule your outreach session, I'll mail you a
video along with several worksheets and answer keys to complement the
video. I'll pick up the video when I come to your
is no cost for the video, but we do need it returned.
Responses have been very positive from Elementary and Middle
Most High School students have felt that the video was too simplistic
although some have commented that the concepts/overview have been very
Our major concern is that students have the overview of vast distances,
hierarchy/vocabulary of types of objects, and initial exposure to
photons for the technology program, as we don't have time within the
cover these topics. For example, the students should understand
difference between a Solar System and a Galaxy, functionally, in
and in scale.
If you don't wish to go this route or don't have enough time to get the
mailed to you, I can attach a basic vocabulary/distance scales info
sheet to an
e-mail message to you, or you can find this document at the Friends of
We now have a standard solar filter for the 6" telescope that I bring
classrooms, so if the sky is clear, there is potentially the
view sunspots. We can set up the telescope outside before or
or during lunch or recess. This is not an H-alpha filter like we
have at PineMountain that shows the solar prominences, but
the standard filter still
offers very interesting views of the solar "surface" features.
Queing up to view through the telescope takes time, so this usually
work well during a class period as too many students are left idle, but
certainly suitable as a supplemental before/after class/school activity.
REQUESTS FOR SKY VIEWING IN EVENING:
Occasionally schools request an evening sky observing program in
with the classroom outreach. This may be feasible, working with
local Astronomy Club/Astronomical Society, or with any other local
can bring large telescopes. We can set up the portable CCD Camera
table outside, and students have a great time taking actual images of
the larger objects in the sky, such as galaxies, star clusters, and
nebulas. We can discuss the arrangements for each request
as resources vary considerably around the State.We
need to consider sky visibility, lighting
interference, sprinklers, and security issues of the viewing site
Oregon Research Institute (ORI), in Eugene, has created a VR program
user can "fly" his/her craft around, above, and below the Sun, Earth,
and Moon (other planets may be added later). The goal is for the
conceptualize the motions, orientations, and views of these objects by
to gain a wide variety of physical perspectives not normally
Explorations include phases of the Moon and the orbits and periods of
and Moon and their relationships to the position of the Sun. This
program, called SEM, is funded by the Federal Department of
ORI Prime Investigator, Dr. Dean Inman, wrote the grant as a program
to help Orthopedically Impaired (OI) students do science labs that they
ordinarily would not be able to access.
When I saw the software in early Summer, 2002, I was immediately struck
non-OI students should also be able to put these explorations to good
also noted that the software serves to illustrate many of the ODE's
I am now working with ORI to develop teacher and student materials for
the SEM program, and will be introducing SEM in many of my outreach
classes. Dr. Inman and I will be looking for teachers who are
in collaborating to investigate the efficacy of SEM, comparing how
learn with conventional strategies versus SEM, for both OI and regular
The software is free and is available either as a download off the web
or from a CD-ROM that ORI can send you. Fed Ed has also
availability of high video performance computers from ORI for
wishing to participate. Please contact me if you are interested
whether or not you have OI students.
Inquiry-based RESEARCH PROJECTS for ALL GRADE LEVELS:
Digital data can be used by students of all ages. Here are some
projects that we can assist you to implement in your classroom.
on student academic levels, you could use/adapt several projects at a
variety of grade levels.
The projects can begin as inquiries after viewing some initial digital
of the sky (or viewing the real sky for that matter!) If you come
your own project, we can assist you with data and data analysis
We can demonstrate a basic project listed below during outreach and can
walk your students through the project in your computer lab.
a. How many stars (how many galaxies)?
Starting from a rudimentary counting exercise, students can explore
various areas of the sky and images taken with a variety of exposure
times. Questions can be generated concerning distribution of
types of objects, and how much of what's out there we are really able
why and why not. This is a very open-ended project that can be a
eye-opener to the vastness of space and the nature of how science is
is very suitable for lower elementary grade levels.
b. Do any objects shift position in the sky?
This involves astrometric (positional) measurements, over a period of
time. Starting by "blinking" (comparing) images of the same
area of sky over one or more nights, students can search for objects
relative position and then attempt to explain the shift observed.
Students can derive the basic relationship between distance and
shift and thus sort out Solar System objects versus Galactic objects,
asteroids, and can begin to sort out the various planets at various
and approximate the orbital radii.
See the astrometric project, initiated by Silverton High School
Kaser, described as the computer lab option in the Contents of Outreach
Sessions section above.
Another astrometric project involves the search for asteroids.
This is an
authentic research project with potentially very useful results (saving
Earth!). Students can request data or can scan archived
done with Richard Berry's AIP4WIN image analysis software, which when
with a digital database, will allow the user to accurately determine
coordinates of any candidates. Data can then be compared with
known objects compiled by Lowell Observatory, and if object is truly a
the discoverer may participate in the naming of the object.
c. Why are some objects brighter than others?
This involves photometric (brightness) measurements and leads to
distances, temperatures, sizes, and brings up issues of instrument
calibration. At the basic level, students can intuitively
the relationships and can begin to characterize and classify objects in
We have archived sets of data of stars of several constellations, which
measured for relative brightnesses.
At more advanced levels, we can furnish images filtered in various
which would lead to measurement of temperature from the Planck
and ultimately to construction of an H-R diagram and determining
REQUEST or DOWNLOAD DATA (IMAGES of the SKY):
Archived data can be "FTPd" (we like WS_FTP software to do this) or
"Timbuktud" (Timbuktu software from www.netopia.com) from
Contact Rick (firstname.lastname@example.org) for
Also contact Rick if you want to acquire new data either from our
degree FOV, BVR filters available, 1Kx1K
pixel CCD, 5 Meg FITS format images) or from our PIGGY (1 degree FOV,
filters, 242x375 pixel CCD, 300 KB FITS format images), we may be able
up remote imaging sessions for you.
We encourage you to select suitable targets and to furnish us with the
identity, RA/DEC, and desired integration time and filters for your
targets. We can provide an initial digital sky tour if you wish.
There is a $20 charge to set up a remote imaging session, and you will
have Timbuktu software (from http://www.netopia.com)
running on your computer. There may be local firewall issues to
See the FOPMO web site for links to DATA ANALYSIS SOFTWARE
HOW TO BRING YOUR CLASS TO PINE MOUNTAIN OBSERVATORY:
DETAILS FOR OBSERVATORY TOURS:
Please make advance reservation with Mark Dunaway,
or 541-382-8331 if you are planning to bring your class (or any group
than 10 people) during regular tour season
(Fri-Sat evenings Memorial Day weekend through September, or during
the off season).
We are now closed due to winter weather, but come March or April if the
snows don’t make the road impassable, you may be able to bring your
to PMO if Mark can fit you in…dark moon weekends fill quickly).
Program starts at dusk, check with Mark for exact times as may change
darkness falls later or ealier. Also check with Mark on rates,
to increase our group rates as we’ve had to find funding for staff to
up. We’re trying to hold regular Fri-Sat summertime drop in rates
$3.00/visitor. Dress warmly (can easily get below freezing
6500 foot elevation!) and bring a small flashlight covered with red
or a brown paper bag (to protect everyone's night vision). We
star charts. You can stay up with us all night, weather
Check the web site for Quick Cam views of the weather during daylight
you come up. There is a Forest Service campground just across the
lot from the Observatory, first come, first served, no reservations, no
fees. Primitive campground, you need to bring water.
Some schools have made arrangements with teachers at local Bend
schools to use their gym to camp out in.
Try to pick a non-Full Moon night (moon is very bright and washes out
For further details, see the How to Visit PMO link and/or call
OBSERVATORY TELESCOPE STATUS:
10” automated Meade Telescope is available if there is a staff operator
available to set up and manage the instrument.
out of service due to need of motor replacement.
24" Telescope continues as our workhorse for visual and for wide field
imaging use, the PIGGY camera is available for archival or live imaging.
32" Telescope continues to be available for limited collection of
data with the COWCAM, including images filtered with B, V, or R
Contact Rick with your initial proposal, I'll put you in touch with
Bothun to work out the details.
Solar Viewing: We now have an H-alpha solar filter for use on our
8" telescope, that allows visitors during daytime to view the huge
prominences blasted out by the Sun. Normally we have this
up outside the 24" dome on Saturday afternoons, during the regular Visitors' Season.