Friday, June 22, 2007

NASA - You are so cool!

We had a great family evening last night. I heard on the radio that because the space shuttle wasn't able to land yesterday, it would be visible in our part of the sky last night. I sent Matt on an Internet quest to find out details, because, although various posts in this blog may have misled you, sometimes I actually work! And, I just didn't have time for the googling it would take to find out times, sky coordinates, duration of flight, etc, etc. And, actually, it's a good thing I didn't, because Matt did a much better job than I would have! He came home with this map---

Our shuttle ETA was 9:43. So, we dinked around the house for awhile, getting chores done. Then, Chance got out his telescope, and we played with it for awhile - we checked out the moon, the trees, the neighbors horses (this thing could actually come in handy ;-).

Then, I had the boys come in and do their ready for bed routine, so they could hop in the sack after we finished with the shuttle sighting. I was really questioning this decision, as we trudged through the cow pasture to get to the top of the hill for the best view - both boys in sleepy shirts, underwear, and sandals. Thankfully, they were both successful cow-pie dodgers, and we didn't have to endure any tragic, late-night, sanitizing baths.

We were novices at reading the NASA map, and we weren't quite looking at the right spot in the sky, and almost missed it! Chance said - hey dad, is that fast light moving over there a satellite? As we watched it, we finally figured out it was exactly the path that we had on our little "Map of the Stars" from our friends at NASA. So, we caught about the last minute-and-a-half of the action. It was still pretty light out, so it wasn't extra-spectacular to see, except for the knowledge that we have astronauts cruising around our earth, and we could see their lights!!

Of course, all this delving into outer space brought up a few (or 85) questions from the boys. Why did it disappear in the sky, how does the sun make a shadow, then why can we see the stars, why can we see the moon in the day sometimes, etc, etc, etc. We are so lucky that Matt took that astronomy class in college - and he thought it was just to lure the girls out of the dorms at night time!

Anyway, it was back into the house for a quick astronomy lesson before bedtime. Matt got out the globe, grabbed a couple props, and assigned roles. I got to be the sun!!!! Okay, actually, I got to hold a flashlight and point it toward the earth - but that's like the lead part, aside from the narrator (Matt), wouldn't you say? We spent quite a bit of time talking about light, reflecting the sun's light, making your own light, shadows, eclipses, etc. The boys were enthralled, Matt did a great job of teaching, and we all had a fun experience.

Now, Chance just wants to know when the planets are all going to be in a straight line the next time, cause he's like to look at it with his telescope. Ummm. . . . .NASA, are you there??????

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