I had a wonderful road trip the week of March 24 to our southern RECON sites. Below is a map of the week-long trek to Bishop, Tonopah, Hawthorne, and Yerington.
First I met up with Adrian Sears in Bishop, California and spoke with his physics class and two chemistry classes on Tuesday morning, March 25. That afternoon, I drove over to Tonopah, Nevada and connected with Clair and Teralyn Blackburn, who had arranged for me to give a presentation to Dr. Tom Whalan’s physical science class at the high school. That evening, I gave a public talk at the school and showed the group how to use their Bahtinov mask to focus the telescope (unfortunately it was too cloudy for stargazing).
Wednesday morning, I met with Dr. Whalan’s life science class and then headed over to Hawthorne, Nevada. It was spring break for their school district as well, but Katherine Trujillo organized a well-attended star party with over a dozen students and parents. We had clear skies and used the scope to look at Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and other deep sky objects, and Kathy and I were able to get the Hawthorne camera working successfully with the new RECON netbook.
Thursday, I drove up to Yerington and met up with Todd Hunt, Scott Darrington, and Joanna Kuzia. Over 40 students and teachers joined us in the Yerington High School Library for a public talk and star party that night. The night was partially cloudy, but we were able to show the students Jupiter and Orion and also got some practice on telescope alignment, focusing, and identifying star fields.
Throughout the trip, I was extremely impressed with the questions and curiosity of the students I met and the dedication, teamwork, and enthusiasm of our team leaders! I’m looking forward to my next visit!!!