Class Spotlight: Astronomy

Chris Troiano '17, Contributor

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Have you ever found yourself in a class looking out at the sky, day dreaming, and finding the universe much more interesting than the subject you happen to be taking at the moment? Well then, Astronomy is the class for you. Taught by Mr. Crowley, the subject is very interesting and a valuable elective science for senior or junior year. You can learn everything you want to know about the sky, stars, telescopes, and physics in general. You will become very familiar with the works of Isaac Newton, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Current juniors may be taking physics this year, and eventually will need to choose senior year electives. If you are interested in pursuing science, and have a slot open, Astronomy is very much worth your time. I would strongly encourage Astronomy if you have taken physics because it utilizes basic skills you have learned in physics to begin the year. Light and mirrors are a major part of the Astronomy curriculum for this first quarter of senior year as you learn about the placement of stars, planets, and moons, as well as their behavior in the sky

Last year, you may have been lucky enough to experience a view of the sun through a solar telescope. A solar telescope is a special telescope that contains a filter making it safe to look at the sun directly. Basic telescopes blind you when staring at the sun because it concentrates the light into your retina, causing major damage. Just imagine the classic scene from Toy Story where Sid burns Woody’s forehead using a magnifying lens!

Thanks to an anonymous donor, BC High has purchased a solar telescope that is now ready to be used. It is a Coronado SolarMaxII telescope. It has an aperture of 60 mm and has an eyepiece with a diameter of 25 mm. The eyepiece can be changed to increase magnification. Currently it has a 2.4x magnification. I had the pleasure of using it and seeing the sun; it looks red and solar flares are easily visible. The filter makes the telescope harmless to your eyes. The total cost was around three thousand dollars, and the telescope is very high tech. It also comes with a special tripod that can be fitted with motors to follow the sun over an extended period of time as it crosses the sky. This addition to BC High’s astronomy program is all the more reason to consider it as an elective.

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Class Spotlight: Astronomy