NASA's Saturday Academy for Space Science* 2004-2005
* Click on above link for an application.
Chicago State University - Science Building

Orientation October 27th, 6:30-8:30, Total Lunar Eclipse

Special Program: Update on Saturn's Moon, Titan, from NASA's Cassini Mission
Look at pictures from the Orientation.

Orientation October 30th 11am to 1pm, Chicago State University
Special Program: Update on Saturn's Moon, Titan, from NASA's Cassini Mission

Mark your calendars! Attend responsibly and be punctual, each Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

Module I Fall 2004: Sun, Solar System, Stars and Spectra
Observe, Build and Use Tools and Models, Astro-Computing

 Nov 6, 13.  November 20-21*, December 4, 11. 
* Field Trip to Yerkes Observatory (Noon Saturday - 2 pm Sunday)

Module II Winter 2005: Astrobiology, The Milky Way and Beyond, Cosmology
Design and Build, Astro-Robotics, Create a Presentation
January 8: SOFIA and Infrared Astronomy
January 15: Telescopes, Images and Optics
January 22: Cancelled due to snowstorm in Chicago
January 29: Power Point; Programming and Building Robots with David Jabon, DePaul Mathematician
Preparing for the Percy Julian Symposium with Norb Teclaw, Institute for Science Education and Technology
February 5: 19th Annual Conference of Black Physics Students
February 12:  Spectroscopy of Planets, the Moon, and Asteroids with Doug Roberts, Guest Astronomer from Northwestern
February 19: Programming and Building Robots with David Jabon, DePaul Mathematician
February 26: Astrobiology with Astronomer Jim Sweitzer
March 5: Power Point Presentations and Student Research
Preparing for the Percy Julian Symposium with Norb Teclaw, Institute for Science Education and Technology
March 12: NASA's SOHO Observatory, Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul Univ. and NASA Center
April 2: Digital Universe; Cassini Mission, Saturn and Titan; with Carter Emmert, American Museum of Natural History
April 9: Colors in the Universe with Brian Wilhite and Kim Coble

Percy Julian Symposium and Closing Celebration April 16th, 2005

Teamwork, excellence, diligence and presentation skills are emphasized.  Active learning is promoted through labs, construction projects, computing, and observing.  Expertise is shared through field trips and honored guests.  Students will share their accomplishments through presentations at the closing celebration. 

November 6th The Far Out Solar System!  Chad Trujillo, discoverer of  Sedna and Quaoar!

Our Schedule:


Moving Objects in the Solar System

Asteroid Toutatis

September 21, 2004, Yerkes 24 inch telescope. The image is a combination of six images taken at 10 minute intervals to show the motion of the asteroid.   The telescope was pointed to this asteroid by students from Williams Bay HS and Badger HS.

  • Here are all Toutatis six images

  • Print, cut out and assemble to make a flipbook.

  • Download these fts images and add them together using HOU-IP software.

  • 4179 Toutatis
    Discovered: January 4, 1989 by C.Pollas.
    Size: 4.6km x 2.4km x 1.9km
    Rotational period: 5.4 and 7.3 Earth days
    Orbital period: 3.98 years

  • Asteroid Models

Find an Asteroid... Comet or Other Moving Solar System Object   Follow the motions of known solar system objects.   Search to discover new ones.   There are countless asteroids and comets orbiting the Sun.  Plenty for everyone to track and map.   All are interesting.  Some astronomers are searching for ones that are in Near Earth Orbit and other astronomers search for dim ones way out by the orbits of Pluto and beyond.  
To observe solar system objects you will need to look up the coordinates. The code for Yerkes Observatory is 754.
  1. Ephemeris Generator
  2. What's Observable?
  3. IAU: Minor Planet Center
  4. SkyCAL You may need to put in the latitude and longitude for Yerkes Observatory if you wish to set this up for observations you request from the telescopes at Yerkes.  Here are the coordinates.  Longitude -88.556, Latitude 42.57   Coordinate System WGS84
    Or, try this preset link.

Hands-On Universe Teachers may request images taken by telescopes.  Use this request page and click in the second submit button to fill out your request for objects in the solar system. You will have to have the coordinates which you find by looking up the objects in the above links. You may also copy and paste tables of object positions in the 'reason' section of the request.

People who look for and discover solar system objects:

  1. Chad Trujillo discovered Sedna and Quaoar
  2. Bob Holmes is an amateur astronomer who looks for and finds asteroids. HOU students working with Bob Holmes' image sets have found two new asteroids!  These asteroids are 2004xb3 and 2004xs3. .  Help us establish orbits of these asteroids by requesting follow up images. 
  3. Andy Puckett, a graduate student at Univ. of Chicago, is working on searching for distant asteroids.
  4. Kuiper Belt object discovered by Hands-On Universe Students

November 13th  The Copernican Revolution... What goes around what?  How Big is the Solar System Anyway?

November 20th-21st.  Field Trip to Yerkes Observatory

Learning and Observing The Night Sky

Link to images we took with the telescopes.

Saturday Afternoon

11:00 Leave Chicago State University to travel by bus to Yerkes Observatory.  Be on time. Bring two sweatshirts; a second pair of jeans or sweatpants for evening observing; two pairs or socks; winter coat, knit hat; scarf; gloves and/or mittens.  No electronics (games or music) or cell phones allowed during Yerkes field trip.  You may use electronics on the bus, within reason.  It would be best to use the bus travel time to sleep since we will be working late.  

1:45-2:45 Arrive Williams Bay, Wisconsin, at Aurora University’s George Williams Campus. Eat lunch in Meeting Room in Lodge.  Overview. Take belongings to Rooms.

3:00 – 4:30 Meet in Working Groups at Yerkes.  We will have three groups of 7 students each. Groups will rotate. 

  1. Yerkes South Building: Build Your Own Constellations with Led Stars (Kevin, TAs)
  2. Yerkes Library:  Spectra of Stars (Jackie and Andy)
  3. Yerkes Engineering Classroom:  3 D Constellations (Jim and Martha) 

4:30 Yerkes 40 inch refractor tour.  5:00 Break for Dinner at George Williams.

Saturday Evening

6:15-7:00 Move to second rotation of working groups. 

7:00 Yerkes:  Looking Ahead to our Percy Julian Seminar April 16th.  Guest: Norb Teclaw 
8:30 Break with Snacks
9:00 - 10:00 Move to third rotation of working groups.  

10:00 - 11:30 Telescopes: Learn about Yerkes telescopes and how they work; make a sky wheel to learn the constellations and the night sky.  Break up into four groups and rotate.  Group Assistants: Jackie, Martha, Pam and Nick. 

  1. 24-inch North Tower (Tom Kaye)
  2. 12-inch South Building (Kevin)
  3. 10-inch Rooftop Remote (Andy)
  4. Star Wheels – Stars and Constellations (JoAnne) 

11:30 Wrap up in South Building.

11:30 – 7:00

Sunday Morning:   8:00 Wake up; pack up.  8:15 Breakfast

9:30 – 11:30 Work on constellation boards with Kevin or Pam; debunk astrology activity in library with Jim.
11:30 – Lunch and put packed up materials on bus. 12:30 - Departure

2:30 Arrive at CSU.  Please make sure you have transportation home. 

December 4.  How far away is that asteroid?  Discover how Kepler's laws describe motions in the Solar System.  Guest Astronomer: Andy Puckett

Moon Journals.  Discuss your observations.  Discuss what the group already knows or have questions about concerning the moon phases and cycles.  Remember your time to observe the moon; bring and share what you have recorded each week.  Here are the times you chose to observe:

 Morning Moon Observations    Afternoon and Evening Moon Observations  
  • 4:00 am Kerris
  • 5:00 am Reshai
  • 5:45 am Annette
  • 6:00 am Veronica
  • 6:25 am Robert
  • 6:30 am LaPorsha
  • 6:55 am Luther
  • 7:00 am Sabrina
  • 7:35 am Tim
  • 8:00 am Ariel
  • 12 noon Chris
  • 4:30 pm Neiman
  • 6:05 pm Dereca
  • 7:00 pm Ashley
  • 7:15 pm Jennifer P.
  • 7:30 pm Justin
  • 8:00 pm Cass
  • 8:45 pm Larman
  • 9:15 pm Jeffrey
  • 9:30 pm Desmond
  • 10:00 pm Aamber
  • 10:55 pm Jennifer
  • 11:15 pm Jonathon
  • 12 Midnight Brian

Asteroids – What are they?  How do they move?  Where are they in the Solar System?  Estimate distance to asteroids by measuring apparent motion and applying formulas.   Learn about Kepler's Laws.  Manipulate views with Solar System Simulator.  Explore Jet Propulsion Laboratory simulations of the density and motion of asteroids in the Solar System.  (See these on the website for the Minor Planet Center.) 

HOU Lab: Measure the apparent motion of asteroids using slice. Use Andy’s Magic Formula to determine the distance to the Asteroid.  See Explore and Discover Observing for the asteroid sets.  Or, follow this link to get the images of asteroids.  Use the Magoeba and Thule.  

  Pennies Lab:  Equal Orbital Areas in Equal Times – What are the relative velocities?  Model this by making an ellipse on brown paper with string and tape and a pen.  Fill in the area of a measured arc to the primary focus.  Then use the same pennies to determine the arc necessary to make the same area of pennies. 

Moons of Jupiter Lab: See Kepler's laws in Action as you determine how the period of an orbit relates to a moon's distance from Jupiter. 

December 11  Stellar Astronomy.  Guest Astronomer, Dean Townsley

Dean Townsley, Stellar Astronomy, including demos to show relationship between temperature and pressure and non-equilibrium heating/cooling.

Two Activities – Two groups which will switch after break.

How much dimmer is a far away star compared to a nearby star?  Inverse Square Law via Paintball Thought Experiment with a mathematical modeling component.

January 8th, 2005  Infrared Astronomy and Active Astronomy Experiments

SOFIA: Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy

    Guest Astronomer:  Al Harper, University of Chciago

Presentation by Dr. Al Harper:  Introduction to Airborne Astronomy, Imaging in the Infrared and SOFIA. 

January 15th, 2005  Optics, Telescopes, Geometry, and Images!  

Using technology investigations we learn how to apply attributes of telescopes and imaging systems to investigate Saturn and its moon Titan.  What is the distance to Saturn?  What is the distance from Saturn to its moon, Titan?  Discuss the Huygens Probe at Titan.   

Discuss the Feb 5th Field trip. 19th Annual Conference for Black Physics Students –  University of Chicago, Chicago; followed by  Banquet Dinner at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Bus departs Chicago State at 8:15 am.  Return to Chicago State 8:30 pm. 

January 22, 2005 - Cancelled due to snowstorm in Chicago.

January 29, 2005: Building Robots with David Jabon, DePaul Mathematician


Using Hands-On Universe Image Processing, add together images of Comet Machholz taken on January 28th.  Here are the image sets:  Set one of nine imagesSet two of 15 images. In HOU-IP, use the Manipulation Tool, Add, Image from Disk.  Repeat to add all the images.  Link to web page for this activity

February 5, 2005: 19th Annual Conference of Black Physics Students

Field Trip to University of Chicago Kersten Physics Building, 5720 S.Ellis Avenue, Chicago.

Students assemble at Chicago State at 8:00 am. Bus leaves promptly for University of Chicago.

(5:00pm buses to Museum of Science and Industry for students who have pre-arranged to stay for the banquet and reception)

6:00 pm                            Reception 
7:00 pm – 8:30pm            Edward Bouchet Awards Banquet
                                          Speaker: The Honorable Dr. Walter E. Massey
                                          President, Morehouse College

February 12, 2005  Planetary Spectroscopy -- How We Learn About Rocks and Minerals on the Moon and Planets  Guest Astronomer:  Professor Doug Roberts, Northwestern University  We will also have a guest educator from Japan, Kaoru KIMURA, Science Museum, Tokyo.

The student activities will be in the computer labs.  Students will be in two groups and switch groups before and after the break.

February 19, 2005 More with Robots and Programming!  Continuing our January 29th work with David Jabon, DePaul Mathematician.  

Put on your thinking caps!  We are going to program our robots!


February 26: The Science of Astrobiology with Astronomer Jim Sweitzer

Activity Groups:

  1. Starry Night: Finish Activity 2; Activity 3  (Starry Night Files linked here.  Including Backyard Student Guide)

  2. Percy Julian Research Projects: Meet in Research Groups to discuss projects. Begin Power Point work. Present Research Topics by Teams.

  3. Cosmic Timelines


March 5: Projects!

  1. Solar Projecting Telescopes - Begin to Build Your Own!  Movie of students at work.

  2. Complete your Cosmic Timeline

  3. Learn more about Starry Night

March 12: Solar Astronomy: Bernhard Beck-Winchatz, DePaul NASA Center

See the SOHO Website

12:40 - 1:00 Intro to sun spots and rotation of the sun.
1:00 - 2:00 Lab activity group 1 / scope building group 2.
2:00 Break and 2:20 short group activity.
2:30 - 3:30 Lab activity group 2 / scope building group 1.
3:30 Clean up lab; Discussion and summary of day's learning, and
Reports of progress on Percy Julian Presentations etc.

Link to pictures

April 2: Digital Universe; Cassini Mission, Saturn and Titan; with Carter Emmert, American Museum of Natural History

Links to pictures.

April 9:
The Relationship Between Temperature and Color in Stars, featuring the the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, with Brian Wilhite, Guest Astronomer from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Kim Coble, Cosmology Astronomer, Chicago State University

Percy Julian Symposium and Closing Celebration April 16th, 2005

Check out these web sites!

General Solar System:

General Astronomy:

Good reference for questions and dealing with misconceptions and general questions:

Good for general questions and NASA references

Try this for Mars:

Your Pluto questions might be answered here

This could yield some good answers about Jupiter

Days of the week and calendars:

New “planet” Sedna

Solar Wind:

This looks interesting on comets, asteroids and meteors for kids:

Questions about life in space… Try this… It’s the astrobiology institute

Saturn’s and its Rings:

Instructional Team: Kevin McCarron, Pamela Greyer, Vanessa Hughes, Jackie Barge, Martha Robinson.  Teacher Assistants: Erin Robinson, Nikcole Robinson, and Dean. 

Content Developers: Vivian Hoette and Dr. Jim Sweitzer. Program Manager: Kevin G. Smith.  Program Assistants: Chris Pinto and Farai Mauchaza

Principal Investigator: Dr. Floyd Banks.  Academic Dean: Dr. Rachel W. Lindsey.

SASS Schedules for 2004-5.

Previous Year's Program: SASS Winter Module 2004; SASS Fall Module 2003; SASS 2002-2003

Comments, Suggestions, Questions?, Ideas!
Email Vivian Hoette at 04/08/2005 16:43

* Sky Projects * Explorations * Hands-On UniverseTM *
* The University of Chicago Yerkes Observatory * * Northwestern's Collaboratory *