Zooming in on a Chimney

Science enthusiasts shared their passions and projects at Discover...Science, a February highlight of South Bend's 150th birthday party. I especially thank the families who spent time with us at the telescopes, making it a fun day.

Bruce Miller, below, of Michiana Astronomical Soceity Inc. (MAS) shows youths how to make a star finder that highlights the star Eltanin, about 150 light years away. You can print your own star finder from the right column of the First Midnight page. Light that left Eltanin in 1865 is just now reaching our eyes in 2015.

Bruce was also doling out flyers for the 2015 Michiana Star Party, an overnight stargazing campout on May 15-17 at Dr. TK Lawless Park in Vandalia, MI. You can assist Michiana Astronomical Society Inc., by pre-registering for the nights under the stars. You don't need to bring a telescope, but if you do, other observers will be there to help you set it up if you're not comfortable with it.

Eric Sorensen of MAS showed kids the best thing they'd see all day--themselves!--when they stared into the tube of a reflector telescopes.

Some visitors saw bolts and electrical sockets on the indoor ceiling through a refracting telescope.

The Fahey Telescope, when aimed low, could zoom in on what a few visitors described as "the brick wall," but was really a tall brick smokestack. Mara Diane, below, is so into science that she later got entangled in the telescope itself. She also mused poetically before the audience about her favorite game and long afternoons of astronomy. Check out the upcoming Discover...South Bend events that Mara is coordinating for the sesquicentennial.

Shiny magnets stacked on the base added just enough counterweight to keep the truss from dipping.

The tendency for most visitors was to overshoot the target, but at least they aimed high. Eventually, sometimes with help, they'd find the big OLIVER stack, a legacy of South Bend's heritage. Some observers noticed the rods and wiring atop the chimney. What's your favorite letter? Many at first described an A.

Hands-on.

Thanks to Jessica Baron of the John J. Reilly Center at Notre Dame and the staff at the Kroc Center for facilitating this outreach opportunity, which was reported in the article South Bend's place in the science world, South Bend Tribune, 22 Feb 2015.

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