Last Friday, Haverford’s astronomy outreach program hosted our last event of the semester at the Strawbridge Observatory, in coordination with the Philadelphia Science Festival. Intermittent rain kept us from opening the telescopes, but we had a whole host of activities set up for our visitors, of which there were plenty. I (Lee) was downstairs running a spectroscopy demonstration and explaining how astronomers can learn about stars by looking at their spectra. Also downstairs were Estella, Sarah, and Eric, who made air-propelled rockets with straw and paper; we had plenty of fun learning about pressure physics while trying to hit makeshift targets with our rockets.
Upstairs, Andrea and Rui helped our guests make paper shuttle crafts and have plenty of other fun with arts and crafts. Lyn and Catherine ran an astronomy trivia session, and Meg showcased our fantastic new outreach T-shirts and some popular science books for our visitors to browse through. (You can email Beth Willman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want an outreach T-shirt!)
Alison and Chris worked in the library, and did a great job of explaining eclipses using a baseball, a soccer ball, and a bare lamp. Arjun, Sarah S., and Eric had the delicious job of making ice cream for our guests, using liquid nitrogen and all the sweet ingredients we could get our hands on. They showcased the awesome properties of supercool gases by concocting entire batches of ice cream within minutes, and freezing an assortment of random objects; watching Arjun and Sarah fence with frozen roses was one highlight of the night.
Thanks so much to all of our visitors for joining us on Friday night, and to all of our volunteers for contributing to a great semester of science, education, and fun! Special thanks to Beth Willman, the faculty supervisor of the astronomy outreach program, and to Mariah Baker, our senior student supervisor and the mastermind behind all of our events. Thanks for orchestrating a fantastically successful semester and making sure that our events ran smoothly. We look forward to resuming our outreach program in the fall!
NSF AST-1151462 provides support for our public outreach programs.