STEM Extravaganza at Morgan State

The Baltimore MUREP Aerospace Academy (formerly SEMAA) held its yearly STEM Extravaganza on Saturday, September 9th, at Morgan State University.

Photo of MDSGC booth at Baltimore MUREP STEM Extravaganza 2017.

MDSGC was represented by a contingent from Johns Hopkins, along with our partners from Space Telescope Science Institute. Thanks to all our young STEM enthusiasts and parents who stopped by to pay us a visit and learn about scientific ballooning! We hope to see you again soon at one of our upcoming Observatory Open Houses.

August 21st Solar Eclipse

NASA image of partial solar eclipseOn August 21st, 2017, the Moon passed in front of the Sun as seen from much of North America, in an event that was hailed as a Great American Eclipse. (Another contender for that title will occur on April 8, 2024, in case you missed this one!) While a total eclipse was visible from within a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, Maryland experienced a partial solar eclipse. In Maryland, approximately 80% of the solar surface was obstructed at the maximum, which occurred at approximately 2:43 pm local time. For any partial solar eclipse, please note: It is not safe to observe a partial solar eclipse without special equipment and/or eye protection — regular sunglasses are not okay!

For information about viewing a solar eclipse safely, please visit NASA’s Eclipse 101 Safety. Key takeaway: if you are trying to observe a partial eclipse, you need special eclipse glasses from a reputable manufacturer. Here is a rundown of information from the American Astronomical Society on solar filters and viewers and how to make sure you get something that is safe to use.

NASA graphic on safely observing phases of a solar eclipse

Baltimore residents had a chance to view the eclipse on “The Beach” at JHU’s Homewood Campus. Here is a news item about that event:

For more information about the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, visit NASA’s Eclipse2017.

To all eclipse watchers, we wish you clear skies!

JHU Annual Physics Fair

The JHUVisitors to JHU's 2017 Annual Physics Fair listen to an explanation from a JHU Physics graduate student. Photo credit: Jon Schroeder. Annual Physics Fair, sponsored in part by MDSGC, was held on Saturday, April 29, 2017. This event brought hundreds of visitors, primarily families with school age children, to JHU’s Physics and Astronomy Department for a day of physics and science fun, replete with hands-on demonstrations, craft activities, contests, tours, and live science shows from a Professor Extraordinaire!

MDSGC would like to congratulate our balloon lift prediction contest winners: “The Prince brothers” and Pavin. Both groups correctly estimated the lift of our 3-foot helium balloon within the margin of measurement error. Thanks to all our visitors and contestants, and we look forward to seeing you again at next year’s Fair.

For those attendees who just can’t get enough science fun, visit the department’s Physics Fair Links Roundup, a stockpile of related material heavy on hand-selected Youtube videos of crazy physics in action.