Mr. Michael Procell, Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, and a first-grade student study the Moon through a Celestron 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
“Wow! I’m looking at the planet Venus!” exclaimed a Rocky Mountain Classical Academy (RMCA) student. On Wednesday, February 9, over 500 people attended RMCA’s inaugural Astronomy Night. Event organizer and Third Grade Teacher Ms. Ariel Collins, a lifelong amateur astronomer, coordinated the activity with the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society (http://csastro.org/).
“I have always remembered my first look through a telescope,” said Collins. “Everyone does. Seeing the rings of Saturn, the polar caps of Mars, and deep sky nebula, clusters, and galaxies provides a perspective unlike any other. When students see the Universe with their own eyes, it encourages them to enter the sciences.”
Colorado Springs Astronomical Society members set up telescopes in a light-shielded area behind the school, while the Challenger Center ran a portable planetarium inside the school’s commons. First-, third-, and sixth-grade teachers and volunteers ran centers at which students produced crafts connected to the astronomy lessons they encountered in the classroom. Given the support, next year’s event promises to be “out of this world.”