[p.8] The Source

Nestled into the trees of College Park is an oasis of knowledge, a place to look toward the stars -- the University of Maryland Observatory. Here, you and your family can explore horizons far beyond the Beltway.


Start Them Young

Rather than: Taking 10 or more kids to the movies or roller skating for a birthday celebration or planning a field trip to the Smithsonian yet again,

You can: Call two weeks ahead of time to schedule a group session before the Observatory Open House, where the only muscles worked are in the brain. You and your family will get a presentation and time to look through the telescopes (weather permitting). During the day, classes have the opportunity to view the sun through specially filtered telescopes. Groups should have at least 15 people, but two smaller groups can join together.


From Amateur to Rocket Star

Rather than: Blindly buying a telescope or constantly pointing out the Big Dipper to your friends,

You can: Go online to the Observatory Web site to find instructions on how to buy the right telescope for your needs as well as various books and software to help your studies of astronomy rocket off the ground. If you have exhausted the online resources and still need assistance, people within the Observatory are accessible via e-mail to answer your questions.


Expanding Horizons

Rather than: Always complaining there is nothing to do,

You can: Check out the Regional Astronomy Calendar on the Observatory's Web site. It is constantly being updated with meetings, lectures and stargazing events in the area. Though most are not run through Maryland, the Observatory's calendar will link you directly to clubs, planetariums and other observatories with amazing activities. You can watch meteor showers or even make your own telescope! Plus, you'll need to keep a watch on the calendar for Deep Impact updates.


Time to Shine

Rather than: Watching the eclipse in your backyard or missing Deep Impact crashing into a comet,

You can: Join with the Maryland community to witness the dances of the stars firsthand. Many of you probably saw the Observatory's tent at Maryland Day, so be sure to come back to monitor Deep Impact in the weeks leading up to and following the July 4 collision. You'll have to watch closely as Elizabeth Warner promises that "the coolness of the whole thing is very subtle." (Also see the Terp feature on Deep Impact p26-28.)