Saturday, May 9, 2009

Outreach with Cub Scouts!

It -DID- look bad. It did.
Clouds as far as the eye could see. Thunderstorms expected for later.

I managed earlier in the day Friday to talk the scoutmaster into coming up to McCormick Observatory, though, and Dr.Mike Gorman showed the kids the scope and talked to them at length. He then let them slew the scope, turn the dome & raise & lower the observer's chair. Then after a good bit of this they came in to the classroom and I started my seemingly endless "Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum" spiel.

I showed them librations of the Moon. Then I showed them a star chart and gave each of them a star map to keep:

I talked about Astrology, and precession of the equinoxes & astrology's problems. I covered the scientific method and Occham's razor.

After a while the scoutmaster announced that it was still cloudy and that they'd have to come back another time to look through the scope. I'm sure the kids were disappointed at this but what can you do? I talked a good bit more, about types of telescopes and how the telescope was invented. I had just finished talking about how it's OK that Pluto is not a planet anymore when Mike announced that he had Saturn in the scope!

All the kids and adults got to see the planet! I passed around the meteorite and talked to everybody some more out in the museum room till they all left. A couple of random groups of people showed up and I explained to them the public night/group night schedule as I showed them the scope. They'll be back for the next public night at McCormick.

All in all a fabulous night! Victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat! W00T!