Week 3: Electromagnetic Spectrum

posted Nov 12, 2010, 5:49 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Jan 7, 2011, 8:45 AM ]

Our eyes see light in only a very small part of Electromagnetic Spectrum.  There is much more to see, and Astronomers are building "eyes" to do just that!

Viewing Night Changed to FRIDAY, 7:30pm at Moore Observatory

posted Nov 8, 2010, 8:38 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Jan 7, 2011, 8:27 AM ]

Mr Bilotta will be assisting Professor Hanson at the Moore Observatory at Edison College this Friday night from 7:30 pm until the last stargazer leaves!  So tonight's viewing night activities will be postponed.  Please come out to the observatory and wear your school shirts too!  Let everyone know Neil Armstrong is Science Strong!

Week 2 Class: Life Cycle of Stars

posted Nov 4, 2010, 1:40 PM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Nov 4, 2010, 2:22 PM ]

image courtesy of

Stars are born, live and die just like people - sort of!  Stars make life possible here on Earth, but unlike people, stars tend to explode when they die!  Good thing people don't!

Week 1 Class: Pen Pals

posted Nov 4, 2010, 1:36 PM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Nov 4, 2010, 1:58 PM ]

we found you a pen pal from a galaxy far, far away! To send our new friend a letter, we need to know our return address- our Galactic Address!  So just where in the universe do you live?

We'll get to that in class - for now, here's a little map of the known universe to get you started!

Astronomy Club is Back!

posted Oct 16, 2010, 11:10 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Nov 4, 2010, 1:59 PM ]

Hope you all had a great summer!  We were a little late getting back up and running but we are back and ready to have some fun!  Check out the calendar for upcoming viewing nights and feel free to sign up now!  We are going to be running two 12 week classes, and all class dates are on the calendar as well!

What's Up in April

posted Apr 21, 2010, 6:40 PM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Apr 21, 2010, 6:58 PM ]

The International Space Station!

GLOBE at Night 2010 is NOW! 3 - 16 March

posted Mar 5, 2010, 8:01 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Mar 5, 2010, 8:19 AM ]


GLOBE at Night is an annual 2-week campaign in March. People all over the world record the brightness of their night sky by matching its appearance toward the constellation Orion with star maps of progressively fainter stars. They submit their measurements on-line and a few weeks later, organizers release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide. Over the last four GLOBE at Night campaigns, volunteers from over 100 nations have contributed 35,000 measurements.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2009 GLOBE at Night campaign during 16-28 March! Through GLOBE at Night, students — alongside teachers, parents and community members — amassed a data set from which they can begin to explore the concept of light pollution and to research the patterns of light pollution across the globe. (reposted from

A record number of over 15,000 measurements were received in the 2009 campaign! See this data on the Map page.

An audio podcast (10 minutes) on light pollution and how to participate in GLOBE at Night:

A powerpoint (with audio and written transcripts) on light pollution and how to participate in GLOBE at Night:

More GLOBE at Night 2010 News.

Five Easy Star-Hunting Steps:

1) Find your latitude and longitude.

2) Find Orion by going outside an hour after sunset
(about 7-10pm local time).

3) Match your nighttime sky to one of our magnitude charts.

4) Report your observation.

5) Compare your observation to thousands around the world.

posted Mar 5, 2010, 7:06 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Jan 7, 2011, 8:26 AM ]

Families Enjoy Night Sky at Galilean Nights

posted Oct 29, 2009, 5:58 AM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Oct 29, 2009, 12:32 PM ]

5 year old Destiny looks on at Jupiter through a large telescope. Neil Armstrong Elementary School, Port Charlotte FL, Oct 23rd 

About 70 Families were treated to a host of activities, all centered on celebrating the discoveries of Galileo 400 years ago this Oct 23rd.  With the exception of several great power point presentations on Jupiter and other celestial bodies, all activities were hands on- just the way we like them!

Families were given the chance to win a drawing for a free Galileoscope  (provided by Skeptikids of SW Florida) by completing several "stations" such as the Jupiter Presentation, several hands on challenges like guessing the scale of the solar system, coloring pages for the younger kids, and finally, making an official observation of Jupiter and the Moon through a small 20mm telescope, sketching and recording the data, just like Galileo! 

Finally, everyone was treated to a nice view of Jupiter, the Moon and several Deep Sky Objects, thanks to the SW Florida Astronomical Society! Some other treats included a group presentation of the constellations and all the wonderful myths and stories that they tell, and a "walking tour of the solar system" - a 10 football field long hike around the school property, where kids and adults got to place all the planets at scale distance and size from each other!

The event was a great success!  Many kids - and adults - expressed their thanks for being exposed to the wonders of the night sky!  A winner was drawn for the Galileoscope and the night came to an end, but the whole event was best described by 5 year old Destiny: 

"This is so much fun I could do this Every Day!"

Special thanks to the Punta Gorda Middle School students, the SWF Astronomical Society, the Bishop Planetarium, Skeptikids, and the teacher and parent volunteers that made the evening such a success!

Viewing Night This Friday Night!

posted Oct 28, 2009, 5:56 PM by Jason Bilotta   [ updated Oct 28, 2009, 6:07 PM ]

We will be hosting a viewing night this Friday, October 30th.  It will be a small telescope and naked eye observing night, with Jason showing us more constellations, and we'll be looking for a few "Famous" stars, and maybe a few outer solar system planets too!

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