Public Star Night – Friday, March 17, 2023
Little Thompson Observatory
Doors Open: 7:00 | Guest Speaker: 7:30-8:30 | Observing at LTO: 8:30-10:00
Hands-On Science in the Age of Computer Screens
A special presentation by
Ana Bucki Lopez
Director, Mobile Earth and Space Observatory
While exposure to positive science interactions is a well-researched source for the pursuit of science careers, encouraging meaningful engagement with science learning opportunities is becoming more challenging with the growing number of distractions by technology. In this lecture, Ana Bucki Lopez will share how one education outreach group is attempting to reach students in their own classrooms by providing a unique opportunity to schools across Colorado to address this challenge.
The Mobile Earth and Space Observatory is a non-profit educational organization that aims to bring hands-on science interactives to underserved communities in Colorado. Built within the frame of a 1976 GMC motorhome, the inspired exterior evokes the space race era, while new adaptions such as a rolling roof, built in cabinets and stairways, and accommodations for a drop-down tripod make it a truly one-of-a-kind science center on wheels that inspires excitement for science wherever it goes.
Guests to this talk will learn about the engineering and design challenges of creating the Mobile Observatory, and get a chance to explore a number of the “roll-out” exhibits that travel with it.
About the speaker: Ana has a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Ohio University, and a master’s degree in natural science education from Colorado State University. Her outreach work began long before college, having volunteered at the Cincinnati Observatory with her father from the age of 14, and continued at Ohio University where she volunteered as an outreach educator with the department of physics and astronomy, travelling to schools in the area to host science fairs, joining the local astronomical society, and working as a peer leader at the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery. Her career in astronomy outreach continued upon graduation at the University of Arizona’s Mt. Lemmon Sky Center, where she operated and taught with the 32” Schulman telescope. A recent transplant to Denver, Colorado, with her fiancé and dog, she is now the director of on-site education and curriculum at the Mobile Earth and Space Observatory based in Colorado Springs.
Following the talk by Ana, the observatory will be open for public viewing through our telescopes, weather permitting.