Wright Lab assistant professor Laura Newburgh led a total of about thirty high school students from the Yale Pathways Summer Scholars program in an hour-long enrichment activity on both July 16 and 25, 2019 in the Yale Department of Physics’ teaching laboratory, in which the students observed laboratory star-fields using backyard telescopes to learn about resolution and magnification.
The students made star fields of constellations by punching holes in construction paper, and illuminated them from behind using flashlights. The students observed their star-field both with their eyes and through a telescope and compared resolution and magnification.
The students next compared their constellations to images of labelled constellations that were posted on the wall to determine which constellation they were observing. Finally, the students put the constellations, which had each been given a number, in order, and it became evident that there was a code to break as the first letter of each constellation name spelled out a word - in this case, “astronomy”.