Why Put Telescopes in Space?
Members of the North Eugene High School Astronomy Club explain the benefits of putting telescopes in space to a middle school class in Oregon. (Photo credit: Alex Chen)

On April 25, the Hubble Space Telescope completed it's 15th trip around the sun in earth orbit. That same day, Night Sky Network clubs around the country celebrated Hubble's 15th anniversary complete with hands-on exercises explaining why NASA puts telescopes in space.

As one of newest clubs to join the Network, the North Eugene High School Astronomy Club wasted no time reaching out to the community. "It's really interesting to do this kind of interactive activity," said club coordinator Alex Chen. "Our members and the participants learned a lot." The club recently purchased 3 telescopes to help bring astronomy to a lower social-ecomonic area with a growing Latino and other ESL population.

Members of the Riverbend Astronomy Club assisted the Children's Museum at Edwardsville, Illinois in unveiling the newest images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Children's Museum joined numerous other planetaria, science centers, and museums across the U.S. in taking part in this celebration. The unveiling commemorated the space telescope's 15 years of service and all the discovery and knowledge it has contributed to science, astronomy and most importantly education.

"We were proud to unveil and display a 4x6 foot mural of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) and also a 3x6 foot mural of a nebulous pillar within the Eagle Nebula. We had approximately 130 visitors which included members of the public, school children, and teachers," said Mark Brown, the club's Night Sky Network coordinator. "Edwardsville Mayor Gary Niebur was on hand to help unveil the images as was Mr. Doug Bugger who was representing the office of Congressman John Shimkus from here in Illinois. Dr. Tom Foster, assistant professor of physics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and River Bend Astronomy Club member also took part in the unveiling."

The club helped explain to museum visitors why Hubble is so important and the advantages of having telescopes in space far above earth's atmosphere. "Our NSN table was set up with the mock telescopes and flash lights to simulate the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere," said Brown.


Members of the Riverbend Astronomy Club assisted the Children's Museum at Edwardsville, Illinois unveiling the newest images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope released to celebrate its 15th anniversary. (Photo: Deb Wagner).

If you want a Night Sky Network club to explain more about astronomy and space science to your group look for a Night Sky Network partner near you. Just go to our club locator page to find a local resource.