Our Experiment With Growing Potatoes a la Martian

This season, First Light has been examining the book and movie The Martian. We understand that it’s fiction, but how much of it is possible, and how much is just factually impossible – merely a Hollywoood fantasy? One of our very first experiments was to see if it would be possible to take a dozen … Continue reading

How We Made 3 Types of Telescopes

Last Saturday, First Light students made a total of three different types of telescopes: one in the style of Galileo (1609), one in the style of Kepler (1611), and one in a more modern style called an achromatic refractor invented by Dollond and Hall (mid-1700’s). Students noticed that the image seen in the Galilean telescope … Continue reading

Three Videos on Machining PVC Plastic Plumbing Parts for Student-Made Telescopes

During the past few sessions of the CASE First Light Saturday science school, students have been making their own camera obscura and a replica of Galileo’s original telescope. In order to keep the costs down, I ordered lenses from Surplus Shed (cheap! but decent quality), and took various ordinary plastic plumbing tubes and fittings and … Continue reading

Camera Obscura – Jan 30, 2015

Students were making their own examples of “camera obscura” — Latin for ‘Dark Room’. These are precursors of modern photography and videos. They used a cardboard box with a small pinhole and tracing paper for the image to be viewed on. Then they tried various lenses and mirrors to improve them. The yellowish images, upside … Continue reading