Saturday Morning Astrophysics reaches out to middle and high school students

1-11-2015

Author(s):Tim Brouk


Saturday morning cartoons are over. It’s time for Saturday Morning Astrophysics.

A new program created by Purdue Department of Physics and Astronomy Outreach, Saturday Morning Astrophysics debuted Jan. 10 when a handful of junior high and high school students braved 5-degree cold to learn more about their solar system and how to calculate the mass of the sun.

The session was led by Physics and Astronomy postdoc Matt Wiesner, who gave the students much knowledge on the solar system before transitioning to the class’ task of figuring out the mass of the sun by only using the distance of the Earth from the sun and how long it takes to orbit the star.

Wiesner used computer simulations to show the different sizes of planets and where those planets can be seen in the night sky as well.

Saturday Morning Astrophysics is aimed at middle school and high school students. The meetings take place at 10:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month through May in the Physics Building, Room 234.

The next Saturday Morning Astrophysics is set for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14. Stars will be the topic, and students will learn to make diagrams of star types and luminosities.

Saturday Morning Astrophysics

Purdue Physics and Astronomy postdoc Matt Wiesner (middle) talks about planets and our solar system during the Jan. 10 edition of Saturday Morning Astrophysics.

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