13 Teachers joined in on the International Observe the Moon Celebration by tracing the footsteps of Kuiper
October 8, 2011By Margie Corp for Stars at Yerkes News
Lynne Zielinski discusses images of the Moon using Kuiper's 1960 Photographic Lunar Atlas, part of the Yerkes Observatory collection.
The workshop began with a presentation by Zielinski about former Director of Yerkes Observatory, Gerard Kuiper. Among his many duties during his years at Yerkes, Kuiper worked as chief scientist for the Ranger lunar probe program, working to determine lunar landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo programs. Kuiper determined that viewing flat images taken with Yerkes telescopes of a spherical object would not provide complete information about the Moon. Kuiper worked to develop a three dimensional projection system to analyze or rectify images of the moon before satellites were ever sent there.
Using a wooden model manufactured by a local foundry, Kuiper projected images of the moon onto the painted white surface of the model hemisphere. Teachers explored this model using modern images projected on the sphere with a computer projector, and were reminded how distortion is a component of all maps.
Teachers examine and measure the differences between projected lunar images using the Kuiper Hemisphere and on a flat board.
Next came a tour of the Yerkes archives. On this tour, teachers compared the collection of glass plates and atlases used to study and plan for lunar exploration. The archive visit clearly illustrated the impact these images made on our understanding of the Moon in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
One of the glass plates as seen on the light box in the Yerkes archive collection.
Above, teachers on the Yerkes back lawn learn the "Moon Dance."
In the image below, taken from a movie clip, teachers analyzed simulated moon craters.
John Sunta points out features he analyzed using resources learned at Yerkes using the Kuiper Hemisphere.
In the evening, Stars at Yerkes volunteers celebrated International Observe the Moon Night by hosting a public star/moon party. Approximately 80 students, families, and space enthusiasts enjoyed a picture perfect evening on the south lawn of Yerkes observing the Moon and other celestial objects through a variety of telescopes. Hands-on indoor activities included building a moon mosaic, making star finders, and creating moon phase cookies. The day was full of learning fun, which reflected the waxing gibbous moon that night. Special thanks to Yerkes Observatory Director Kyle Cudworth, James and Christy Cudworth, Rebecca Russel, and Richard Dreiser for their leadership, expertise, and sharing of the skies!
Scenes pictured below are from the International Observe the Moon Night moon party held at Yerkes Observatory on Saturday, October 8, 2011.
Additional teacher resources are found below, and in the Kuiper Sphere file cabinet.
Click here for a slide show of the day's events.