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Astronomy at Home

Astronomy at Home

A four-week online astronomy course for young learners, 11-14 years old, to explore our universe.

Stimulate your child's curious, bright mind with our new, 4-week online astronomy course, led by Strasenburgh Planetarium Director, Steve Fentress. Students will discover the workings of the universe by exploring the foundations of astronomy and the many phenomena occurring outside Earth’s atmosphere.

During each 90-minute session, students will dive into a new astronomy topic and apply their learning to in-session projects and discussion. Additional assignments will be given to complete outside of class using a free astronomy software (discussed in class) or through observation of the real sky outside. Each class will include a lecture, participatory discussions, and in-session projects.

By the end of the course, students will have an introductory knowledge of astronomy that will serve as a foundation for future science courses, or simply as extracurricular enjoyment.

REGISTER TODAY!

 


Course Details

Who is this Course for: 

  • 11 to 14 years old, or 6th to 9th grade interested in astronomy

 

What You'll Learn

  • How to identify astronomical objects you’ve seen in the sky but don’t yet know about
  • How to find objects in the sky that you’ve heard of, but have not yet seen
  • How to predict and plan for future astronomical events
  • How the sky would look different if we could see in infrared or ultraviolet light, and why

 

What you'll need

  • Ability to participate digitally using Zoom
  • Stellarium software, available in free desktop versions for Windows and Mac at stellarium.org. 
  • Zoom and Stellarium installed on the same device so you can share your Stellarium screen

 

Course Format

Each session will be divided into three 30 minute segments

  • First half-hour: Everyone meets via Zoom for introductions and demonstrations by your instructor, leading to a short project to do right now
  • Second half-hour: Everyone signs off to work on the short assignment
  • Third half-hour: We reconvene to review the short assignment and introduce a more substantial project for the coming week

  

Course Curriculum

Session 1

  • Get started with planetarium software, Stellarium
  • Learn the software basics: move around the sky, change date, time, location, and field of view
  • Investigate stars and other celestial objects 

Session 2

  • Explore the universe through time and space
  • Travel through time, watching how the Sun, moon, planets move in our sky
  • Learn to predict future astronomical events

Session 3

  • Discover other forms of light and how they help us find the structure of our galaxy, exploded stars, and black holes
  • Explore Stellarium’s advanced features
  • Start looking at constellations from world cultures

Session 4

  • Wrap up outstanding questions and topics
  • Finish exploring constellations from world cultures
  • Review and discuss individual projects

Assignment Examples

  • Using Stellarium predict which stars will come out first after sunset. Then check with the real sky and adjust Stellarium settings to match your viewing conditions.
  • Within your assigned constellation, scan the sky using Stellarium’s virtual telescope; Find and identify five curious-looking things that are not stars, planets, meteors or comets.
  • Verify the speed of light using movements of Jupiter’s moons then go outside and and Jupiter in the real sky.
  • Create a plan for viewing the solar eclipses in 2023, 2024, and 2045.
  • Within your assigned constellation, use Stellarium to find some objects that are prominent in infrared or ultraviolet light, but invisible to the human eye. What’s going on there?

Still have questions? Reach out to us!


REGISTRATION

Course Fee: $50 for four-sessions

Class Time: 1-2:30pm EST
We ask that all students arrive promptly at 1pm

Class Dates:
Tuesday: SOLD OUT

Thursday: SOLD OUT

What's included: 

  • Four 90-minute classes with Planetarium Director, Steve Fentress
  • Access to all classroom materials and resources
  • Weekly astronomy projects
  • Access to recorded classes

About Your Instructor

Steve Fentress, Director of the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium

Steve Fentress has many years of experience designing Planetarium programs for school groups as well as hands-on and in-depth programs for homeschoolers and youth groups. He has written articles for space.com and Griffith Observer magazine. He stays up to date by participating in planetarium educators’ networks and online seminars. His book Sky to Space: Astronomy Beyond the Basics with Comparisons, Ratios, and Proportions is available from Amazon, but we will not be using it in this course.


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