Last week Wyoming stargazing hosted two stargazing events for about 30 students from Parkway Middle School who were visiting the Teton Science Schools’ Kelly Campus. The first program, which was held on Tuesday evening, ended at 9:30pm because the students needed get back to bed after a long day. After an indoor presentation we went outside and checked out Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Neither the students nor their teachers were satisfied with just seeing the planets in the sky which was just beginning to get dark. So, they asked if I would come back later in the week during the middle of the night in order to be able to see some deep space objects in a really dark sky. I loved that idea.
I returned on Friday night at 1:30am to a group of about 20 of the students who were willing to interrupt their sleep for some astronomy. They had an incredible time viewing the Trifid Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Ring Nebula, The Hercules Globular Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy, and of course Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
At about 3:30am the students were about ready to head back to sleep. One of them stepped forward and thanked me for teaching them about astronomy and inspiring them to learn more about science. She held out her hand, pressed two one-dollar bills into my hand and said, “this is for your organization.” Then, every one of her classmates followed suite and handed me one or two dollars as a donation for Wyoming Stargazing. I started to cry. Enough said.