Astronomy Outdoor Ed at Camp Casey
One of this decade’s most memorable astronomy events will occur on August 21, 2017, when the Moon’s shadow will pass over all North America. The path of the umbra, where the eclipse is total, stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States in 38 years. From our location at Camp Casey, the eclipse will start at 9:06 a.m. PDT, reach its maximum at 10:19 p.m PDT., and end at 11:41 p.m PDT. Even though we are not on the direct path, the obscuration or point of the Moon being hidden by darkness, will be nearly 90%. This eclipse is being called the Great American Eclipse of 2017.
Observing the night sky is something humans have been doing with great excitement since the beginning of our existence. Today, aided by years of scientific discovery and technological advancements, we can view objects in deep space and gather data, at a level which eludes comprehension for most of us. Yet, the inspiration and awe of viewing the night sky with one’s own eyes or a simple telescope is still the subject of many stories we bring back home with us from camp.
Astronomy, or viewing the night sky, is one of the outdoor education programs available to campers at Casey. You don’t need to be here during one of the notable celestial events to take advantage of learning about the night sky. We have a working relationship with the Island Country Astronomical Society of Washington, who with prior scheduling, are available to provide knowledgeable instructors and facilitators to present astronomy programs. Campers can either request talks and programs on specific subjects or have the facilitator prepare a program of general interest.
Several time a year, Dr. Douglas Downing, an associate professor of economics in the School of Business, Government, and Economics at SPU, is on site viewing the sky with his 25” Obsession telescope. The telescope is housed year-round at Camp Casey, so it’s always ready for Professor Downing and other SPU faculty or qualified persons to roll out and use during their visit. Can you imagine how different the experience is between viewing images on a laptop to looking directly through this powerful telescope? Check out some of the celestial events happening in 2017. Why not add astronomy to your outdoor education program?