Teacher Training

We had our first session of teacher training last week and despite the cloudy skies we learnt a lot and got to see a star or two.

The first part of the session included a tour of the facilities at Quantum Victoria who hosted the evening. I think everyone will agree with me when I say “What a great venue!” Then we were all ushered into the lecture theatre to hear a couple of talks. The first on Measurement in Astronomy by Prof Rachel Webster, the Head of Astrophysics at the University of Melbourne. Rachel gave everyone a great insight on scientific method and how measuring things in outer space is quite different to down here on Earth. The second talk was an introduction to the telescope each of the schools in the program are hosting. With lots of spectacular pictures and a video of the moon through the telescope fluctuating under the turbulent atmosphere, there were lots of oohs and aahs and an appreciation of what these telescopes can do.

Following the talks, we split into three groups, one group went through the alignment process of the telescope and then found a star or two. The second group went through some of the astronomy software available on the computers or iPad. The last group got the chance to see and discuss some of the activities related to measurement, such parallax, magnitude and colour and 3D constellations, courtesy of the Melbourne Planetarium.

Our next Training session sees us visiting the Melbourne Planetarium at ScienceWorks and listening to Dr Tanya Hill as she gives us further insight into the Night Sky and the little tiny space we exist in. We will also have more time to spend using the telescopes and the opportunity to talk about some more activities and meet some members of the Victorian Astronomical Society. Another busy night!

I would like to say thank you to all the teachers who attended after school hours during this busy time of the year, especially those who travelled over 2 hours to get there. Also to the grad students, thank you for coming and volunteering your time. You are a great asset to the program.

Lastly, thank you to Quantum Victoria and ScienceWorks for hosting these training sessions and throwing your full support behind this program!

First Telescope Delivered!

Yesterday we got to deliver our first telescope to Quantum Victoria. We managed to fit the entire thing, telescope, tripod, trolley and accessories into my car – not an easy feat, lucky I have a rather large car!

For those of you not in the know just yet, Quantum Victoria is a new Government centre of excellence and innovation for science and mathematics for school children and the perfect host for one of our telescopes. Now schools unable to participate in our whole program can come to Quantum Victoria to spend some time doing astronomy activities and, weather permitting (as always), look at the night sky in detail. Keep an eye on their webpage for upcoming programs!

It took more time to unpack than put it together, but here is the finished result;

Note the meter ruler at the base, gives you an idea of how big this machine is!

The finished product. Cameron is in charge of the scope and is very happy about that! Soula is the director of Quantum Victoria among many other roles as a science communicator. We look forward to working with you guys on our Astronomy adventure.