The Planetarium Is A Perfect Scout Learning Experience.

Merit Badge Astronomy Workshop

In this two hour class, 10 to 20 scouts will learn there’s more to the night sky than bright dots on a black background. Investigate the stars and other celestial bodies and learn about the tools and methods used by astronomers to study what’s beyond our sight.

Programs are offered Monday through Thursday nights, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The fee is $8 per scout. There is no charge for the adults chaperoning the scouts; there should be one chaperone for every five scouts. The money raised from these programs goes towards the cost of using the planetarium and developing other astronomy programs for the community. 

See Requirements below.

Requirements

Send an email to Stars@YCAS.org   to request a reservation. Please include your name, phone number, troop number, number of scouts, number of chaperons, the preferred day, an alternate day, and any special requests. Please present a check payable to YCAS when you arrive for your workshop (No cash please). Minimum cost is $80.00 for the workshop.

If you have a small group of scouts and would like to be joined with another group for the workshop, please provide your preferred dates and we will try to make the match for you.

There are some parts of the requirements that are to be done before the visit to the planetarium, this document will help you fulfill a few requirements that can not be completed in the class and tell you how the requirements will be done.

There are two requirements that you must complete at home: 4c and 6b. These requirements may be downloaded in a Word document. Click here to download document to print out: Astronomy Workshop Prerequisites

Requirement 4c states: 

“Make two sketches of the Big Dipper. In one sketch, show the Big Dipper's orientation in the early evening sky. In another sketch, show its position several hours later. In both sketches, show the North Star and the horizon. Record the date and time each sketch was made.”

On a blank sheet of paper draw the horizon and North Star. Also include any features along the horizon that can be used as reference like houses, trees, telephone poles, and street lights. As soon as it gets dark draw the Big Dipper and write the time and date next to it. Several hours later, draw another Dipper on this same sheet and write the date and time. Note that the Big Dipper is not an official constellation; it is only part of the constellation Ursa Major.

Use the outer lip of the Big Dipper to find the North Star. The North Star will be about 40 degrees above the horizon. To measure 40 degrees, make a fist and stretch your arm all the way out. Count 4 fist heights stacked on top of each other from the horizon (your fist is 10 degrees wide).

You should end up with something like this:

Requirement 6b states:  

“Sketch the phase and the daily position of the Moon at the same hour and place, for a week. Include landmarks on the horizon such as hills, trees, and buildings. Explain the changes you observe.”

Draw the moon on a blank sheet of paper. To do this you need to stand in exactly the same spot each night. Pick a spot that has objects near your view of the moon. The Moon should be in the western sky for your first observation. Draw the horizon and anything around the moon to use as a reference point (tree branches, edge of a house, telephone pole, etc.) Make sure you include the position, size, and shape (phase) of the moon. Sketch all 7 nights on the same sheet (you will end up with 7 moons in one picture).