The Paw Print
If you have been following the Science Saturday articles you know that this is the last one.
If this is your first time hearing of this program, let me break it down for you. This program has been running for the past two years for kids in the San Luis Valley from about the ages of 6 to 13. Dr. Randy Emmons, a retired professor from Adams State College, teaches the kids something about science for a few hours starting at 9 a.m. every Saturday. The construction on the ES building has caused the program to die down a bit in the past semester. It used to be held every Saturday in the Community Partnership Building, but recently it’s been held every-other Saturday in the Planetarium and Porter Hall.
The last Science Saturday was held only in the Planetarium instead of moving to Porter Hall half way through the morning. The few people that showed up got a spectacular lesson in mapping the stars. When mapping the stars, the map is held overhead so the directions east and west are actually opposite a land map. The kids mainly looked at the ecliptic stars that are on the path of the sun which make up the zodiac constellations.
The lesson started out looking at my personal favorite constellation, Orion the hunter. Its most distinguishing feature is his three-starred belt. He has two main stars that make his outline, Rigel which means foot of the hunter and Betelgeuse the armpit. Orion is backed up by his two dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor. These are spotted by the stars Sirius and Procyon. Orion is fighting Taurus the bull. His evil red eye which is his distinguishing factor is the star Aldebaran.
These stars can be seen as the sun sets in spring time. They are in the western side of the sky (when you’re looking up it will be west. If you were using ground coordinates it will be east). The next set of stars that were talked about was some of the zodiac signs. Gemini, the twins, is right about Orion’s head. Next to it is Cancer the crab which is actually not made of any stars, but instead is made of the dark spot in the sky with a cluster of stars in the middle. This cluster is an open star cluster called the Beehive. The twins both have names. The northern twin is called Caster and the southern twin is named Pollux. Leo the lion was also talked about. He is lying down in the sky next to Cancer with the star Regelus (the king star) identifying his heart. The most well-known constellations were also mentioned. The big and little dipper makes up Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the big and little bears with the long tails. In between them is Draco the dragon. This was a great last Science Saturday. It was held in the Planetarium which is a great and informative experience for the kids. All-in-all, this has been a great program that has been both informational and fun for adults and kids alike, and it will be missed by all who attended.