SB150 Young Astronomers Debuts on King Day

The Summers Group, LLC and Project Impact South Bend are co-sponsoring the SB150 Young Astronomers program, which will debut at the 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on January 19, 2015, at the Century Center in South Bend, IN. There local youths may register to participate in the free out-of-school program, which is a one-year commitment. The SB150 Young Astronomers program, an offshoot of Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS), connects young people in our community with a global network of telescopes to acquire and process their own celestial images in support of astronomical research.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Skynet Junior Scholars is designed to engage youth in the study of the Universe using the same tools as professionals. In SJS, young people can be aspiring astronomers, controlling research‐grade telescopes around the world to acquire and process images of celestial objects, ranging from near‐by planets to distant galaxies. Youths who become Skynet Junior Scholars will learn valuable skills in problem‐solving, math, science, and communication as they complete a set of astronomy Explorations. They then have access to a global network of resources and astronomers, and can find their own scientific voice and pursue their own investigations.

As details evolve, I'll compile them at SB150 Young Astronomers. The program name acknowledges the City of South Bend's celebration of its 150th anniversary, of which SB150 Young Astronomers is an independent highlight. We intend to fuse the Skynet elements with local astronomy elements, including visiting the Kennedy Planetarium, using hands-on telescopes with Michiana Astronomical Society Inc. members, and getting involved with the SB150 events like First Midnight.

Families can get more information on January 19th at the Century Center, at which we are recruiting and registering the middle and high school students. Participation in SB150 Young Astronomers is free, with a commitment expected through November 2015. I'll be doing the Skynet training workshop in January, after which we'll start astronomy activities and connect the young scholars to telescopes.

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