January 26, 2009

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It's Only a Paper Moon

image by Mike Anzalone, Malena Villareal, Justin G. and Ian J., Buffalo, New York

Chuck Wood writes: Many astronomy clubs are populated by men who were young when Apollo was getting started. As they die off so will amateur astronomy - unless younger people can be attracted. Here is a way to help kids and give amateur astronomy a future:

As members of the Buffalo Astronomical Association, we wanted to bring some hands on astronomy to some kids of the inner city of Buffalo. We collaborated with "Science Firsthand -- Partners in Discovery" which is an NSF sponsored science mentoring program for middle school youth that provides urban community centers with adult volunteer mentors who become a child's "partner in discovery" for a once a week afterschool science based meeting for a whole year. The mission is to build positive relationships between mentors and mentees as well as to encourage and promote the process of scientific inquiry as a stimulus for learning while having fun. We chose astronomy as our focus of investigation. We meet every Wednesday night for 2 hours at the Valley Community Center in Buffalo, NY. Many classes begin with a quick look at LPOD and APOD which the kids enjoy. Unfortunately, winters in Buffalo do not provide us many opportunities to take the telescopes outside, so indoor project tend to prevail. This lunar project was inspired by the multitude of the images on LPOD, as well as an image taken by Buffalo lunar and planetary imager Alan Friedman of this same region of Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel which appeared on APOD on February 9, 2007. The kids enjoyed seeing how the angle of light hitting our "paper moon" affected the detail in the surface of our model much like our own Moon behaves as we have observed it through our telescopes.

Mike Anzalone and Malena Villareal (mentors), and Justin G. and Ian J. (mentees)

Technical Details
January 22, 2009, Valley Community Center, Buffalo, NY 11:50 UT. Handheld Canon PowerShot S60 5.0 mega pixels. f3.2 1/60 sec. 30 degree flash angle.1 Frame of 2. Zero stacking. 2:1 water/flour. Newspaper pulp. Salt and glue. Imagination and significant lunar artistic license invoked.
CAW: I am happy to see the old Quadrant Maps that I helped make on the wall!

Related Links
Firsthand Learning
The Valley Community Center
Buffalo Astronomical Association

Yesterday's LPOD: Engineering Triumphs, ...

Tomorrow's LPOD: Welcome Home, Larry


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