On Monday, April 26, several members of the Astronomy class met Dr. Gates at East Bay Park at 8:30 in the evening. Dr. Gates had set up the school telescope so they could look at the Moon. In Astronomy class, the kids have been closely following all celestial events including the landing of the Mars Rover Perseverance and its helicopter Ingenuity.
This particular night was very interesting because there was a Pink Super Moon. The Pink Super Moon appears 7% larger and 15% brighter because the moon is at its closest point to the Earth and we see it magnified through the Earth’s atmosphere. It was a very good night for observation.
Bristol, Isadora, William, Evan, and Nathan lined up to take their turns at the telescope eyepiece. The Moon was amazing clear and bright. The kids could see craters and shiny patches and shadows. Dr. Gates and Bristol were able to take some pictures with their phones through the lens.
As the Moon continued to rise, Dr. Gates turned the telescope towards the Big Dipper and focused it on the star at the end of the “handle.” Through the telescope, the kids could see that this star is really two stars (Mizar and Alcor). Mizar and Alcor revolve around each other—they are called a binary.
The Astronomy moon watch broke up a little after 9:00, when clouds began to cover Mars and spoil the view. Thank you, Dr. Gates, for setting up the cool viewing.