Pointing Kids' Eyes To The Sky

July 06, 2009|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,frank.roylance@baltsun.com

Students at Shipley's Choice Elementary School will be getting a close-up view of the universe in the fall after winning a telescope giveaway contest sponsored by Maryland Public Television.

The Severna Park school learned this week it will receive an 8-inch computer-controlled Celestron telescope as part of the 2009 International Year of the Telescope, a celebration of 400 years of telescope astronomy. The telescope retails for $1,800.

Principal Rocco Ferretti said several tech-savvy parents last year proposed setting up a technology and science club to offer students enrichment activities before and after school. They will take the lead in introducing students to the night sky.

"One of our staff members will be training with the telescope, as well," he said. "I know these guys. ... They'll take advantage of every opportunity to use it for the boys and girls."

The school was chosen from among five that received the highest number of nominations from parents and friends.

MPT and the Maryland Science Center are observing the International Year of Astronomy this summer with a pair of astronomy-related productions. The effort is financed by the National Science Foundation.

Visitors to the Science Center can view a new show in the Davis Planetarium, called Two Small Pieces of Glass, exploring the history of the telescope.

On July 17 at 9:30 p.m., MPT will re-air the 400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thoughtwhich takes viewers on a journey that begins with Galileo's first look through a telescope in 1609, through modern astronomers' quest for new planets and the origins of the universe.

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