Boy Scout Troop 770 (http://www.troop770.com) hosted a contingency of CAAS members last evening at their campout at Pinnacle Mountain’s Eco Pond. While the weather was cold and drizzly and not exactly what one would consider ideal for camping, we were welcomed very warmly by the group of scouts and leaders, and also greeted by the delicious aroma of homemade beef stew and biscuits cooking on the camp stove.
In attendance were Rocky Togni, Jim Dixon & daughter Samantha, Bill Sanders, Preston & Stacy Edwards, 6 scouts, 6 parents/Scout leaders, and Pinnacle Mountain State Park Superintendent, Ron Salley.
After visiting and enjoying the delicious meal, our presentation was opened by Rocky with information on the Scouts’ astronomy merit badge requirements, and tips on how to use astronomy for navigation.
Stacy followed with a short discussion of two of the newest merit badge requirements: knowing how to keep warm while observing in the cold, and also the up-and-coming hot topic of light pollution.
Jim provided the group with current star maps and gave a tour of the constellations, after which Rocky discussed preserving night vision. Rocky also provided handouts on finding the North Star, along with a diagram of the Winter Hexagon showing how to locate several major winter constellations – one of the requirements for the astronomy merit badge.
Samantha helped demonstrate the various moon phases, and Rocky also demonstrated how eclipses occur.
Bill explained the various types of telescopes. A Coulter Newtonian reflector and an ETX 90 were available for the scouts to check out.
The lack of actual observing was unfortunate, but with Rocky’s comprehensive and well-organized program, the scouts were given a good foundation for getting started in astronomy, and an excellent head start on earning their astronomy badge.
THANK YOU to troop 770 for your gracious hospitality! We look forward to hosting the troop later this year for an astronomy campout at the CAAS property.
Submitted by Stacy Edwards, Secretary