Attention, STEM educators, students, and space enthusiasts! Did you know NASA has a weekly service providing information about student and educator opportunities — workshops, scholarships, internships, and more — as well as inspirations for the latest and greatest ideas for science education? If you’re not already registered, head over to the NASA signup page now!
MDSGC proudly supported presentations by several students at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), held January 8-12, 2018, in Washington, DC.
The poster topics included using the 2017 total solar eclipse to repeat Arthur Eddington’s 1919 test of General Relativity; using Towson University’s telescope to study the resolution of Olbers’ Paradox; and using the asteroid Psyche to test the Equivalence Principle. What the projects have in common is their connection to astronomical observations and fundamental physics, a strong emphasis on hands-on student research, and their supervisor: Towson University Professor James Overduin. The three posters presented at the AAS meeting represent collaborations among Towson faculty and students and several local high school students.
The solar eclipse poster generated considerable discussion that kept its authors Keri McClelland and Kelsey Glazer busy answering questions. Professor Overduin explained its popularity: “It seems that we are one of only two or three teams who have tried to do this (replicate Eddington’s test with the 2017 eclipse) and that only one other has been able to do more than us.”
MDSGC congratulates the Towson team on their accomplishments and wishes them success in their future projects! The three student posters are reproduced below.
The Baltimore MUREP Aerospace Academy (formerly SEMAA) held its yearly STEM Extravaganza on Saturday, September 9th, at Morgan State University.
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.
On 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.
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!
The JHU 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.
MDSGC’s Balloon Payload Program is gearing up for a busy year, with three launches so far this spring and more planned throughout the summer and fall. Launches happen early in the morning, usually from Clear Spring Elementary School in Clear Spring, MD. To see for yourself what all the fuss is about, contact Professor Mary Bowden for information about attending a launch!