Originally Published: May 7, 2009 11:19 p.m.
Student Astronomy Day, now in its fourth year, kicks off today at Prescott's Watson Lake Park, off Highway 89 and Willow Lake Road, with a host of interactive science-based activities for children and adults alike.
As in prior years, the Watson Lake Schools and Scouts Campover will accompany the event. Both are free to anyone interested in participating.
Elementary, middle school and high school students from across the area, including Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Dewey-Humboldt, will attend the educational outreach program.
What follows is a list of the main events taking place Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Watson Lake Park's open grass field:
Play a scientist with Northern Arizona University astronomer Ed Anderson - Includes "Test this out! Can they hear you scream in space?" "Body Spinners!" "Human Gyroscopes!" "Smoking Comets," and safely seeing the broiling sun's surface and eruptions.
Venus Topography - with NAU's Ed Anderson.
Informal talks on stars and evolution - NAU professor emeritus Andrew Odell also will discuss how one becomes a professional astronomer and what it's like as a career.
"Decode the Alien Message" - with Prescott Astronomy Club member Meghan Taylor-Gebler.
Van de Graaff Generator - see how the electrostatic machine works.
NASA/NAU AIMER Science Lab - with rocket specialist Matthew Zierenberg.
"Quiet Skies" Radio Frequency Interface.
Take Apart a Telescope - with John Carter.
"Walk the Solar System" - with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Stacy DeVeau every half-hour.
Hydrogen Rockets - with Leon Corcoran.
"Night Sky Magic Trunk" - with Marilyn Unruh and Project ASTRO.
NASA Educator Resource Center activities - with ERAU's Stacy DeVeau, 2009 NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory solar system ambassador.
Telescopes and prize drawings.
The event concludes Friday evening at the park's upper ramada with:
Public Star Party - "Howling at the Moon" Night, 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Outdoor Movie Night - "400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey through Science, Technology and Thought," 9 to 10 p.m.