Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break

For their spring break, the Society of Physics Students from Millikin University came out to our valley to enjoy the dark skies and different scenery from Illinois. One of the first things they did upon arriving was take out their many telescopes and set them up. They have a lot of neat equipment.

This is definitely not your usual spring break location (notice lack of leaves on the trees), but at least the weather for the week is predicted to be fairly warm and there's no snow on the ground. That's especially good because some of them are camping.

Here's Bobby, checking one of the telescopes that he's outfitted with a solar filter so he can look at the sun. I took a quick peek and saw the giant glowing red orb. Apparently we have just passed a solar minimum in the 11-year sunspot cycle, meaning there are very few sunspots right now. Over the next few years there should be more sunspots appearing. 

This large telescope was really heavy and required quite a bit of counterbalance weight to keep it on the tripod. The students and professors were very excited about the really dark skies out here. Being at a higher elevation means less atmosphere, so the skies are crisper and it's possible to see more stars.


Uncle Andrew is one of the participants. He's managed to have quite a few adventures this week, not too different from previous ones, where participants felt lucky to get out alive! More coming soon...

3 comments:

The Incredible Woody said...

Sounds like a great way to spend spring break to me!!

flatbow said...

Ah, I see the Ghost of Bobby has returned in a corporeal state. Good for him!

reMark said...

Wish I was as lucky to do this. Track some space junk for me Uncle Andrew.

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