June 29, 2022

Scouts Enthusiastically Learn About Solar System, Dark Skies from Lyme Land Trust Astronomy Members

The Scouts listened and observed attentively during the astronomy presentation.

On Friday, May 6, Alan Sheiness, Scott Mallory and Parag Sahasrabudhe, who are all members of the Lyme Land Trust Astronomy Group,  went to Camp Claire in Lyme, Conn. to introduce basic concepts of astronomy to a den of Cub Scouts. The evening program consisted of three activities.

The face says it all! This Scout was clearly amazed by what he saw through the telescope.

The first topic was an introduction to the instruments used for astronomy. The scouts were able to see through an astronomical binocular, and two types of telescopes: a refracting telescope and a reflecting Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

They learned how lenses and mirrors are used to focus and magnify the light coming from stars and planets to gain larger and clearer images of these objects. As it turned out to be a cloudy and rainy evening, the telescopes were trained on distant objects across Hamburg Cove instead of the Moon or stars.

The second activity involved creating a peppercorn model of the inner solar system at the playground with the help of some parents. The scouts gained an appreciation of the vast distances and all the empty space between the Sun and the planets. They also were able to observe the planet Venus in the model using one of the telescopes.

If Venus had been up in the sky that evening, it would have looked similar to the Venus model seen through the telescope.

The final activity required everyone to move indoors and Sheiness used a model of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon to demonstrate how the phases of the Moon appear. Each scout then had the opportunity to be the Earth and see how the Moon covers the Sun when a solar eclipse happens.

The Scouts were all eager to find out more about what they were seeing through the telescopes.

It was clear from all the questions they asked that the scouts were very interested and engaged in these activities . Some scouts mentioned that they own telescopes and Sheiness invited them to bring their telescopes to the next astronomy group outing and participate in real viewing of astronomical objects.

Editor’s Note: This article was sent to us by Alan Sheiness of Lyme. He explained that he had submitted it as part of the Lyme Land Trust’s Astronomy Group’s, “continuing goal to educate the public about astronomy and the importance of dark skies.”


  1. Morgan Regan says

    Alan and crew were wonderful! A heartfelt thank you to all and the Lyme Land Trust.
    The Cubs can’t wait to hear you again next year!
    Morgan Regan, Pack 32 parent