October, 2007 Volume 16 No. 2

written by Rick Kang (541) 683-1381
edited by Monica Geraths

See you at the Oregon Science Teachers' Association Annual Conference, at La Salle High School, in Milwaukie, near Portland, Friday, October 12th, the State in-service day! Registration info and other details at

Rick will be presenting a workshop about How to Build a Planetarium in Your Classroom and a second workshop about Navigating the Sky, How to Find that Faint "Fuzzy". Monica will be at the Friends of Pine Mountain Observatory booth to talk with you about classroom outreach programs and about visiting the Observatory near Bend.

Outreach Update

The NASA Oregon Space Grant Consortium has agreed in principal to underwrite Rick's travel costs to conduct classroom outreach. The caveat is that NASA's current educational model requires emphasis on Staff Development rather than direct instruction to K-12 students. So, you can probably get Rick to visit your classroom for reduced fee if you can arrange for an after school meeting where you and your staff attend a short session about Scientific Inquiry where Rick will present several projects you can do with your students and also the accompanying resources. We're hoping that this arrangement will bring the outreach opportunity to a lot more classrooms in outlying metro and in rural areas. Monica has prepared an elegant brochure about the actual outreach program and topics, these will be mailed out and also available at OSTA.

Science Inquiry Projects

Observatory Closed for Season, Reopens in Spring

Snow is already falling at Pine Mountain, so access is becoming limited. We do encourage you to consider scheduling a visit with your class to the Observatory for late April, May, or early June, 2008, and you can book your visit with Mark Dunaway at any time,, or (541) 382-8331

Eye on the Sky

This is planet season: Jupiter continues to hang low in the SW post sunset sky. Mars rises around midnight in the east. Brilliant Venus shows up in the eastern predawn sky well before first dawn twilight, and Saturn, the golden dot, rises just before dawn. The bright star, Regulus, is near Saturn, but appears more silvery.

The Leonid meteor shower peaks November 18th, but probably won't be as spectacular as it was several years ago.

The great square of Pegasus, the winged mythological horse, hangs high overhead in the evening. Telescopes and cameras reveal lots of galaxies hidden in this area of the sky, away from the thicker portion of our own Milky Way Galaxy. If you look carefully from a reasonably dark sky location, east of the "third base" star of the square or diamond, hopping over three stars and then up a chain of three fainter stars, you'll see a misty glow. This is our sister Galaxy, M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, about 2.5 million light years away and the farthest object visible to your unaided eye.

We are continuing to work on updating addresses, please let us know if you're at a new location.

See you in Milwaukie!