BSA Astronomy

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Summers are always busy and this one was no different. But at least I finally got to do a little astronomy. First there was the update on writing a curriculum for Ten Mile River to try to get the scouts through the astronomy merit badge. The operative word here is "try" because it's not actually possible to do in the time frame allowed by camp, but we did work on them getting through the visual observations which is a big deal: 10 constellations 4 of which are in the zodiac, 8 conspicuous stars 5 of which are first magnitude, plus sketches of the Big Dipper over a 2-3 hour period to observe the sky rotation. We'll call it a limited success since all of the boys managed that part (we practiced every clear night before the 3-hour observing session on Thursday). And they all learned to use a planisphere and were required to use it to plan out what things they were going to observe that night.

I did fire off an email to BSA national about the updated Astronomy merit badge requirements. I'm not at all happy with the "Observe a planet and describe what you saw" requirement as it's too vague. We did do that one during camp, but we used a telescope to observe Saturn so there was a bit more to describe than "it was a bright object in the sky."