Saturday, September 21, 2013

Time to Change

It is time to again to watch the daily progression of the famous
"Judge Thieler Sugar Maple" from Summer into Fall.

Below are links to the photos from previous years for those who want to
plan a leaf-peeper visit for the days of peak color, or those who want to
search for evidence of global climate change in year-to-year data.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dancing with the Stars (Astronomically)

Three Plumas County communities – Greenville, Portola, and Quincy – are participating in a groundbreaking astronomy research project supported by the National Science Foundation.  The RECON project is studying objects that orbit the sun out beyond the planet Neptune. To study these distant faint objects, citizen-scientists in each community use project-supplied equipment to record them when they move in front of stars – this is called an occultation – when they literally “dance with the stars”.  RECON stands for Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network.  In addition to the research, education is a key objective of the project.  Science teachers at Quincy High School, Portola High School, Plumas Charter School in Greenville, and Feather River College are all part of RECON.
Dr. John Keller
Dr. John Keller, a planetary scientist and astronomy educator in the Physics Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, is one of the two principal investigators leading the RECON project.  On Thursday evening, September 12th  Dr. Keller will give a free public lecture at Feather River College about the RECON project along with representatives from the Plumas County teams.  The presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in room 103 on the lower level of the new FRC Learning Resource Center.  Following the lecture attendees are invited to a “star party” at the FRC observatory.  Interested people will also be given the opportunity to sign up for an ongoing Community Education class that will meet every other week from September 26th through December 5th taught by Charles Arrowsmith, the astronomy instructor at FRC, and Michelle Callahan of Portola High School.  
Those who take the RECON community education course will learn more about the science behind the project, how to use the equipment, and how to analyze the results.  They will be able and encouraged to participate in the ongoing observation campaigns as a part of their community team.  The community education class is being offered free of charge to qualifying high school students and for only $20 to the general public.
You can read more about the RECON project at and you can email for information about the class.  Quincy RECON is also on Google+.