Spotlights
Timonium Elementary participates in “star party”
11/30/2012

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The word “awesome” was heard throughout the evening of November 8, 2012, as nearly 50 Timonium Elementary School students and their parents participated in a “star party” using electronic telescopes to see the Ring Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Jupiter, star clusters, and more.

This is the sixth year that Tim Kent and Susan Riffe, Starlab (portable planetarium) resource teachers for Baltimore County Public Schools, coordinated a star party for a school, often selecting a school that had a Starlab visit the year before – as Timonium Elementary did. Kent and Riffe are assisted most years by volunteer Curtis Oliver, a chemist by profession with a strong interest in astronomy.

This year’s party was at Timonium Elementary because the students in teacher Terri Oster’s Grade 4 class requested it. That entire class showed up for the evening event.

Kent, Riffe, and Oliver transported 8-inch and 11-inch electronic telescopes to the tennis court behind the school. Security lights were blocked to increase darkness. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., parents and students took turns looking through the telescopes, looking for celestial objects from a bucket list they were given. Students received stickers for finding objects, and many expressed an interest in continuing their exploration of astronomy by participating in the school system’s self-directed junior astronomy program.
  

The evening ended with hot chocolate and cookies inside for everyone to warm up and discuss all that they had seen.


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Story and photos submitted by Timothy E. Kent, Starlab Resource Teacher.
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