Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh, Happy Day! Sam gets a telescope.

Sam loves astronomy.

Sam already knew most of the content is Exploring Creation with Astronomy, and he wanted something with math, so I had to find him a more advanced textbook for a science studies this year.  He's spent the year studying Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide and has really enjoyed it.

He spends time online studying the Google Earth's sky mode and Stellarium.

We also have a telescope that my dad gave to us, but have had little luck with it.  We've viewed the moon, Jupiter (saw three moons), and Saturday (very faint rings) with it.  But mostly, it is frustrating because it moves too easily and has a computer locator that we can't figure out.

We've been wanting to go to an astronomy club 40 minutes from here.  We hadn't gone because it conflicts with his sparring classes with taekwondo.  At a cost of $50 per month above our normal contract rate, I didn't want him to skip classes.  Then a couple of months ago, I found out that sparring class actually costs $50 per four classes; we aren't charged for missed classes.  So, we planned on going to a student meeting with the astronomy club.

But we missed the first available one because it was moved to a different week than normal.  Major disappointment there!

Last night was our next chance at a meeting.  After a long day where it looked like we'd be late, we made it just five minutes late.  Then we wandered around the college building it was suppose to be in, not finding it.  It looked like it was going to be another major disappointment before we happened upon a security guard just before I was going to give up.  He showed us the way.

We were welcomed and had a great meeting.  They were immediately impressed with Sam.  When the leader asked the students if anyone knew what a transit was, Sam immediately jumped to raise his hand.  They called on him, and he explained it.  They were impressed with the detail in his explanation.  At a break, the leader came over and asked Sam's age.  I told him and explained that Sam had a lot of book knowledge but little observational experience due to difficulty using our telescope.  I thought I might get help with adjusting the stability; instead I was told he had something for us and called over to someone else about "that telescope."

Class went on.  The topic was transits (because Venus will be transiting the Sun in June...this won't happen again for 105 years so it's a big deal) and occultations.  Sam didn't know about the latter.  I was thrilled that he was learning something already!   We learned about an upcoming debate (Sam is already thinking about the topic) and star party (he's begging to go).

After the meeting, we were introduced to Sam's new loaner telescope.  He was really hoping he'd get a 6" Dobsonian telescope some day.  Last night we brought home an 8" Dobsonian telescope.  He's jaw hit the ground when he saw it.  He was taught how to assemble it, and they helped us load it up.

Sam is thrilled.  He found people who love astronomy, people who know what he is talking about, people who can help him learn more.  And he has an awesome new telescope to use!

Sam with the loaner telescope.  He can't wait for a clear day to try it out.

As a mom, I'm thrilled.  His level of academic ability sometimes makes it hard to find friends.  Most other 10 year old boys don't seem interested in discussing the finer details of advanced math, astronomy, or volcanoes.  Meanwhile, he's not interested in the things that most 10 year olds want to do.  It makes him lonely.  I hope he develops new friendships through the group and finds more contentment and happiness because of it.

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Suswan said...

I am tickled pink for Sam!!! So exciting!