Moon impact can be seen by public at Windward's Lanihuli Observatory

Aerospace Science Workshop at WCC prepares teachers to be part of historic moon impact on October 8

Windward Community College
Joe Ciotti, (808) 236-9111
Professor, Natural Science
Posted: Oct 7, 2009

On Thursday, October 8 from 10 p.m. until Friday, October 9 around 2 a.m. at Lanihuli Observatory, astronomy professor Joe Ciotti hopes to video record the impact of NASA’s lunar-sensing satellite as it intentionally collides into a crater near the south pole of the moon where evidence of water is proven to exist.
Students and the community are welcome to witness live video images as the LCROSS lunar probe impacts the moon and also view a NASA video describing the LCROSS mission. The event at Lanihuli Observatory is free and open to the public.
“NASA has timed the impact to be seen by the Mauna Kea Observatory,” said Ciotti. “We will be using our 16” telescope to see the dust plume and record the event from right here in Kane‘ohe.”
The Center for Aerospace Education (CAE) at Windward Community College has been conducting science teacher workshops throughout the summer to improve science teaching in preschool, elementary and high schools. These hands-on workshops and excursions offer training in the physical sciences.
“The GAVRT workshop training is giving teachers and students a chance to work with NASA to check on the health of the lunar probe on a daily basis,” said Ciotti. “If there’s a problem, it sends a signal, so no news is good news. It’s a big help to NASA, since budget cuts have reduced the daily observation of the satellite to three days a week.”
GAVRT Teacher Workshop
The Center for Aerospace Education at Windward Community College hosted the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT) workshop in the spring of 2009.
This workshop, co-sponsored by Lewis Center for Educational Research (California) and JPL, along with the Hawaiʻi State Office of Aerospace Development and DOE, allowed teachers who successfully completed the training to be certified to remotely operate the 111-foot radio telescope in Goldstone, California. This dish was part of the NASA's Deep Space Network.
The GAVRT workshop was held in conjunction with the CAE's role in the upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS missions, with the backing of NASA Ames Research Center. Teachers certified to operate the Goldstone telescope participated in receiving data transmissions from the LCROSS spacecraft prior to its impact on the south polar region of the moon, scheduled for October 9. Visual observations and records of the plume raised by the impact will be attempted at Lanihuli Observatory.
Other Teacher Workshops:
Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) Workshop
The CAE provides aerospace science training to 21 teachers enrolled in a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program connected with Stevenson Intermediate School. This training includes hands-on rocket construction with launch and recovery opportunities.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Workshop
Sponsored in partnership with the DOE Windward District Complex, teachers are trained at all the CAE venues, with special emphasis at WCC's NASA Flight Training Lab. They were funded for a two-day excursion to the Big Island, which included visits and observations at Mauna Kea, a geological excursion to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and field trip to 'Imiloa Astronomy Center where they studied volcanology from a planetary point of view. The 18 science teachers enrolled in this workshop earn Professional Development credit through the DOE's PDERI office.
“The more teachers you teach, the more students you reach—and are prepared,” says Ciotti.
For more information, call Joe Ciotti at 236-9111.