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October 2001 TOPS Newsletter

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News For Everyone

TOPS 2002 Workshop

TOPS 2002 applications are now available on the TOPS Web site. The application deadline is Tuesday, January 15, 2002. Please note that for returning teachers we have added a shortened application form.

We really encourage everyone to submit applications via the TOPS Web site. If anyone needs help doing this, please contact Bev.

We are currently printing color brochures describing TOPS 2002 and will mail them to you as soon as they are printed.

IfA Open House

Comet making, cratering, mirror grinding, bottle rockets, and a TOPS information table were enjoyed by hundreds of visitors to the IfA open house on Oct. 6. Thank you to Alyce Ikeoka, Carla Brooks, Jean Hamai, Victor Kim, Tom Chun and students, Sophia Hu and students, Clyde Kobashigawa and students, Steve Ching and students, Nicholas Bradley, Gerbs Bauer, Mike Connelley, Jana Pittichova, and George Bendo for helping with these activities and making them such a success. Other highlights of the day included lab tours, a planetarium show, Ask an Astronomer (wearing the requisite wizard hat), and public lectures, including one by Bev on archaeoastronomy.

Student Volunteers Still Needed

Students, do you have school requirements for community service? TOPS is in need of volunteer assistance, and we would love to work with you. We have a variety of projects from which to choose.

News for TOPS 2001 Participants

TOPS 2001 Photo CD Roms Available

We are producing the TOPS 2001 photo CD roms with all the digital pictures taken by TOPS, and by Tom Chun (and others who gave pictures to Tom). The CD comes with an excel spreadsheet itemizing the TOPS pictures by session, topic and people. We will shortly put the best of these images online. These will be sent to all 2001 participants.

AAVSO Star Charts

We will also be sending a CD rom with the AAVSO star charts to TOPS 2001 teachers, and any students who request the CD rom for purposes of doing science fair projects.

Support for Follow-Up Activities

Teachers in Hawaii: TOPS can probably pay your airfare for you to do workshops on other islands. Please remember that we have paperwork to do to get coupons, and then we need to mail the coupons to you, so please contact Bev as soon as possible with your airfare requests. Unfortunately, TOPS has no budget to help you with supplies, but we might know where you can borrow equipment and other supplies. We are mailing CDs with workshop photos and Deep Impact information to all 2001 teachers as soon as we can finish them.

Team Workshops

Sophia Hu, Alyce Ikeoka, Clyde Kobashigawa, and Victor Kim have formed a workshop team to present TOPS workshops. Sophia says, "This is a GOOD TEAM! Now, if any school needs a TOPS workshop, we can go as a TEAM, right???". The team presented highly rated workshops at HSTA and HaSTA conferences on Oct.15 and 20. Topics included hands-on activities, research projects, AAVSO curriculum in the biology classroom, and math and science standards. Nick Bradley joined the team to present the students' component. Kathy Chock made a NASA/Mars presentation at HaSTA with moral and administrative support from the team.

Science Highlights and Resources

Hawaiian Astronomical Society Opportunities

The Hawaiian Astronomical Society sponsors monthly star parties on Oahu at Dillingham Airfield and Kahala Community Park. See their Web site, http://www.hawastsoc.org, for observing opportunities and other astronomy information.

Leonid Meteor Shower Viewing

Jim Bedient reminds us that the Leonid meteor shower maximum will occur in a moonless sky during the early morning hours of Saturday, November 18 (Honolulu time). This will be the best chance to see shooting stars in more than three decades.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific Catalog and Resources

The non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific has just published a new catalog of astronomy products and publications for educators, amateur astronomers, and the general public. The Fall/Winter 2001 catalog includes teaching manuals, posters, video and audio tapes, books, globes, software, CD-ROMs, slide sets, calendars, sky observing aids, and an assortment of educational materials.

The society also has a new Web site address: http://www.astrosociety.org. All other addresses on the society's educational Web site have also changed. For more information about the catalog and other resources, click here.

NEAR Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission

For the latest information on asteroid craters, with accompanying photos, check http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/ Sept01/Eros.Nature.deb.html.

Variable Star Research

A project supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to determine the nature of dark matter in the halo of the Milky Way has yielded a treasure trove of data on 73 million stars, many of them variable stars. The Massive Compact Halo Objects (MACHO) team scrutinized the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two galaxies which orbit the Milky Way, and the bulge of the Milky Way in an eight-year search for massive objects, such as planets or brown dwarfs. These objects are believed to make up much of the dark matter in the region. The images, light curves, and a catalog of the variable stars are available for viewing or downloading from the MACHO project Web sites at http://www.macho.mcmaster.ca and http://www.macho.anu.edu.au.

Cosmos I Solar Sail

The Planetary Society is one of the sponsors of the Cosmos I Solar Sail, launching this month. The society is looking for skilled observers to track how the orbit changes, as well as to accumulate data about its visibility and magnitude. The society also needs photographs. If you are interested in participating, see Solar Sail Watch on the society's Web site, http://www.planetary.org.

Teachers, you can use Cosmos I to teach lessons on magnitudes, light, optics, and orbital motion. Cosmos I will also be just fun to watch. Check the Web site for information about when the solar sail passes over your location.

Kitt Peak Teacher Program

Have you ever wanted to study the stars through telescopes at Kitt Peak Observatory near Tucson, Arizona? An exciting new program designed for middle and secondary science teachers is now available. Teachers learn how to acquire astronomy data and how to support their students in conducting authentic astronomy research projects. In addition, teacher-participants can earn graduate credits and receive all expense paid trips to the observatory in Tucson as well as a national NSTA meeting. For more information, click here.

TOPS Alum Happenings

  • Congratulations to Creighton Wilson (2000), who was married on June 21 at 6:00 AM. Creighton, is there an interesting story here? Tip from Creighton: He found ending his physical science classes last year with two weeks of astronomy was "a very good way to keep their attention as the year ends."

  • Congratulations to Robin Dawson (2001) and David Yoshida (2000) on becoming National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.

Contact Information


Last Updated on October 25, 2001

This page has been visited times since Oct 2001.

Karen Meech, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu