Observe Venus! Astronomy Day with McDonald Observatory! The International Year of Light

The Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at the McDonald Observatory invites students and their teachers in Texas and the United States to celebrate Astronomy Day and the International Year of Light. During this special 1-hour interactive video conference program, students are given a brief introduction to the McDonald Observatory, make live telescope observations of Venus with telescopes equipped with special video cameras, and discover the current phase of Venus. During the video conference, each student is given an activity sheet, in which they complete a drawing of Venus and write a description of what they have observed. By exploring Galileo’s drawings and watching video conference demonstrations, students discover the reason Venus goes through its phases, as well as Galileo’s momentous discovery. Students will learn even more through the Q/A session near the end of the video conference. Students complete an identical pre and post conference assessment to measure knowledge growth. Telescope views will be real time, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather or equipment problems, recorded views of Venus will be provided. This Astronomy Day video conference is not a TV show. Instead, it is designed to engage and excite students in grades K-12 about a STEM related subject, related careers, and provide teachers an opportunity for classroom instruction that is not otherwise possible. This videoconference is offered at 10:00am, 11:00am, and 1:00pm on October 12-16, 2015 and is aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for grades 3-12.

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