Astronomy at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus of San Francisco State
Probable dates: July
8-12, 2007, or July 15-19, 2007
Nestled within the Gold Lakes region of the Sierra, just 50 miles north of Lake Tahoe, and about 80 miles west of Reno, Nevada is a wonderful institution of higher learning and environmental education: The Sierra Nevada Field Campus of San Francisco State University. Open to all adults, individual college-level classes are taught on a variety of subjects (see links below), all uniquely suited to this pristine environment.
Practical Observational Astronomy from the Sierra Nevada is one such week-long course: Consisting of afternoon lectures/workshops, the real heart of this class is nighttime observational astronomy; which means using telescopes, star-maps, and other apparatus atop a 7200' peak far from city lights. Telescopes are provided (usually at least three 18" Newtonian reflectors), but students are certainly encouraged to bring their own equipment. (This class was originally designed to accelerate the learning curve of those with new astronomy equipment.) I have also been known to loan my 13" scope to students flying into Reno from out-of-state.
Typical assignments include:
The class can be taken for credit and grade (this usually fulfills the physics/laboratory requirement at most universities); the class is also open to auditors (no grade). Anyone with an interest in astronomy is encouraged to attend, even "advanced" amateurs--how better to share your wealth of knowledge?
Want to dabble at astrophotography? This is encouraged, too, though you will have to supply the necessary equipment: From the simple star-trails photo at left, to the more complex CCD or film imaging of advanced amateurs, all have been done successfully at this dark, transparent site.
|Afternoon classes (mornings are
reserved for sleeping in and/or hiking to local lakes, peaks, or waterfalls) will
typically include subjects such as:
Official class description from SFSU Field Campus' Webpage.
Accommodations (also from the SFSU Field Campus' Webpage)
E-mail Registration and other course listings (do not dally; class can fill up!)
Instructor: Martin Sirk
SFSU Field Campus Home Page
(Former student) Kevin Daly's online review (scroll to the top).
Kevin's observing report--first night (again, scroll to the top).
e-mail Ray Cash