To Infinity and Beyond

Q: In the scientific calculations portion of Infinity and Beyond, will the students be required to use a scientific calculator, or will they be allowed to do it longhand if they want?

A: They can solve their question either longhand or with a scientific calculator.

To Infinity and Beyond, WESO 2019 Orientation to the Pioneer Planetarium

Wednesday evening, May 1st
Pioneer High School

5:30-6:00     2nd grade student competitors

6:10-6:40     3rd grade student competitors

6:50- 7:20   4th grade student competitors

7:30-8:00    5th grade student competitors

These workshops will be held in the Planetarium for student competitors ONLY! Parents and coaches should come prepared to wait for your team members outside in the hall. 

The presentation will be grade level specific with the purpose of helping the students to get used to how to orient themselves so that they can identify objects they see in the sky-dome.
The planetarium is located on the second floor of PHS close to the 7th street doors (West). 
Parking is available at the other end of the building by the Flagpole entrance (East),close to Main Street.
The entrance is on the 1st floor, so you will have to use a stairwell to get to the 2nd floor. 
We will have a few people helping in the hallwayto direct you to the Planetarium.
 It is a long walk, so please plan an extra 10 minutes before the workshop is
scheduled. As with most planetariums, once the room is darkened late participants will not be admitted.
The WESO Board

To Infinity and Beyond!

Q: In to Infinity and Beyond Study Criteria it says “Be able to work out distance = speed x time, with scientific notation”. Can you clarify how detailed this needs to be and at what level? Are we talking a basic understanding of a DST triangle, reading a velocity/time graph, something on the cosmic distance ladder? And when you say “scientific notation” to what do you refer? D = S x T?
A: The kind of question that I’m going to be asking is given in this example: (4th and 5th grades only) The Spitzer Space Telescope is 1.5*109 m away from the Earth.  If light travels at the speed of 3.0*108 m/s, how long will it take for a radio signal to travel to the Spitzer Space Telescope and back? Then, from this, one needs to rearrange the equation to use the total distance that the light traveled (there and back), divided by the speed of light, to get the time. The scientific notation part refers to being able to use the notation 3.0*108 for 300,000,000, etc.

To Infinity and Beyond

Question 1:

Can you provide a little guidance on the following questions in the “Sun” section:
Where is the Sun in the sky?
How high does it get?
Where is it when it is the highest?
How long is it in the sky?

Response – I really need to rephrase many parts of the guidance, my apologies that this is vague and unhelpful. The intention here is for students (depending on grade level) to understand where the Sun appears in the sky – this connects with the seasons too. Obviously I’m talking to coaches here, as the answer uses jargon that most students (especially the younger ones) won’t be understanding.

– the Sun appears to move along the zodiac as the year progresses, and because of the tilt of the Earth appears to have positive declination (up to about +23 degrees) from vernal to autumnal equinox, and negative declination (down to about -23 degrees) the rest of the year.

– the Sun is highest in the sky during the day at solar noon, as it passes the meridian – the line on the sky between your north and south. So from some place like Ann Arbor, north of +23 degrees, the Sun is always due south when it’s highest on the sky, and is quite low in winter, but higher in the summer. I won’t want students to work out angles, but the due south and that it’s higher in the summer than the winter I want them to know.

– finally, how far north or south the Sun appears changes the length of the day – when it’s further north from a site like Ann Arbor, it rises much earlier, and so days are long.

Question 2: Will you be posting a sample video of how the planetarium software will be set up/displayed?

Because we’re doing the event in the planetarium proper, we won’t be posting a sample video. My apologies. Planetarium software will look reasonably similar in contrast/star prominence to how the planetarium looks. If you have a chance to take your students out at night and if you can find a spot that’s less light-polluted (towards the edge of or a little outside of town), then that gives a better idea of how differently one interacts with the constellations when they’re projected all around you instead of on a screen.