What is summer? Summer is what one wants to make out of it, such as enjoying the nice hot weather out at the beach, the long summer nights, and making memories. But you can’t forget that everyday you learn new things. It is true that every summer has its own: story, soundtrack, and love, but this year it turned out to be more like a novel for me. A novel full of great memories, new friends, and learning. It all began at the Adler Planetarium. Not only was I ready to take upon any challenge this summer, but also to develop a deeper understanding of science. Many people, including myself, had the misunderstanding that the dome inside the main building would open and a telescope will appear to look at the sky. Although, as I began to explore the Adler, I discovered that the dome located inside the main building is actually the Grainger Sky Theater, and that the Adler Planetarium has its own Doane Observatory located outside the main building. Who would have thought about that? Not me of course.
Not knowing what to expect, as my internship began, I felt nervous, scared, and thrilled to know my tasks for the summer. It was time to begin the mission, fuel up the spaceship, and countdown-blastoff!!
As an intern, I had to get prepared for this mission, not only mentally, but also physically. Me and the other telescope interns, gave information to the visitors about the telescope, what they were looking through, and history about the Doane. While giving such information I was able to learn along. Honestly, being at the Doane everyday and seeing the people’s reaction to the Sun was fascinating. The children's faces as they enter the Doane were priceless! Not only children, but adults too, they shared the same excitement as the kids. These moments brought back memories, not just any kind of memories, but the ones as a child. As a child, I never had the opportunity to view the Sun through a telescope. I am glad that now, kids are able to get an unforgettable experience at the Doane Observatory and Adler Planetarium at a young age. This shows that the Adler Planetarium provides excellent opportunities for teens and kids to develop a greater understanding of the world around them.
But wait! There is no age requirement to explore and learn. I guarantee that there will be something of your interest, no matter what your age is. Learning about solar observing is something I recommend. Solar observing is fascinating, you can observe our only star visible during the day: the Sun. You may be asking yourself, “What about the Sun?” There are many features that make our Sun unique. Did you know that you can fit over 1.3 million Earths inside the Sun's volume? Impressive.
In the Doane Observatory there are two different types of telescopes: h-alpha telescope and white-light telescope. Both telescopes view different layers of the Sun. The h-alpha telescope views an upper layer of the Sun called the chromosphere. When one looks through this telescope, the Sun looks reddish, like a red apple color. This is due to the hydrogen electron dropping from the third to second energy level that gives off red visible light, thus it looks at the red visible spectrum of the Sun. The white-light light telescope views the photosphere of the Sun, which is the closest we can get to the corona. Through this telescope, you are able to view the Sun, its usual yellow color, and sunspots – which are usually bigger than the Earth!
The Doane Observatory became my new home for the summer, the friends I made became part of my family, and I began to grow a passion for science. The Doane can become a new home for you as well, just stop by and experience it for yourself and get ready to begin your own mission. WARNING: Mission begins in 5....4....3...2...1...BLASTOFF!
Written by Cecilia Soto, telescope intern at the Adler Planetarium.