January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Celestial Highlights for July 2013

Posted: Monday, July 1st, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

At dusk: In July 2013, the brilliant evening “star” Venus gleams low in evening twilight, drifting from WNW to W as month progresses.

On our evening all-sky chart, planets are plotted for each day when the Sun has sunk to 9° below the horizon, at “mid-twilight”. By then, the two naked-eye planets and eight stars of first magnitude or brighter are easily visible, except for Pollux and Regulus sinking in the twilight glow. In July, from Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and other places near latitude 34° N, mid-twilight occurs about 45 minutes after sunset. From northernmost California in July, it takes six minutes longer for the sky to fade to the same level.

Planet positions are represented by a separate dot for each date, with positions for each Monday in July (1, 8, 15, 22, 29) represented by a larger dot and labeled. We find Venus and Regulus in the western sky this month. Rotate the chart until the portion of the horizon circle nearest the pair is at bottom, and you’ll see planet and star depicted at the same orientation as they appear in the W to WNW sky: Regulus 25° upper left of Venus on July 1, to 12° lower right of Venus on July 31.

On the chart, the stars’ daily positions are plotted not as individual dots, but instead by continuous tracks as the stars drift west (counter-clockwise around the North Star) in the course of the month, owing to the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.

Another planet is present on July evenings: Saturn, tracking from S to SW in mid-twilight as July progresses. Notice the first-magnitude star Spica 12° to the west (lower right) of brighter Saturn all month, the blue-white twinkling star preceding the steady yellowish planet as both objects go westward across the sky.

The brightest star in July’s evening sky is Arcturus, high in SSW to WSW, above Saturn and Spica and forming a large triangle with them. When the Big Dipper becomes visible, you can “follow the arc (of the handle) to Arcturus and drive a spike to Spica.”

Next after Arcturus in brilliance is Vega, climbing high in ENE. Compare the contrasting colors of these two stars! To Vega’s lower left is Deneb, and to their lower right is Altair, completing the Summer Triangle. Climbing in SSE to S is reddish Antares, heart of the Scorpion.

Binoculars may help you spot Pollux early in month, 13° lower right of Venus on July 1. Within a few days, Pollux vanishes into the solar glare.

Find Regulus, heart of Leo, the Lion, within 5° of Venus during July 18-25. They appear closest on the evenings of July 22 (1.2° apart), and July 23 (1.3°). Sinking lower nightly, Regulus will pass on the far side of the Sun on August 22.

During July 10-23, the Moon is above the horizon in evening mid-twilight. Follow it nightly as it waxes, or grows, from a thin crescent on July 10, through First Quarter (half full) on July 15, to Full on July 22. The Moon passes, in order, Venus on July 10th, Regulus on the 11th, Spica on the 15th, Saturn on the 16th, and Antares on the night of July 18th.

This selection of diagrams from the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar illustrates the Moon’s changing position against background stars in July, and the changing arrangements of Venus-Regulus at dusk and Mars-Jupiter-Mercury at dawn. For information on subscribing to Sky Calendar, visit www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/.

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11. http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

July21

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

July28-30

Source: Abrams Planetarium
A 1-year subscription to the Abrams Sky Calendar consists of 4 quarterly mailings of three calendars each. The quarters begin with February, May, August, and November issues. Cost: $11.
http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html

Dawn: Our all-sky chart for morning mid-twilight depicts the sky about 45 minutes before sunrise in southern California. The Summer Triangle of Vega-Deneb-Altair is high in the western sky at dawn, and lower as month progresses. During all of July, the Summer Triangle is up all night.

Bright Jupiter emerges by end of first week, low in ENE to lower left of faint mag. +1.6 Mars. To their upper left, find bright Capella, the “Mother Goat” star, in NE, higher as month progresses. To upper right of Jupiter is reddish Aldebaran, eye of Taurus the Bull, with the compact Pleiades star cluster or Seven Sisters (not shown), 14° higher. Fomalhaut, mouth of the Southern Fish, drifts from S to SSW. By July’s fourth week, Betelgeuse and Rigel, shoulder and foot of Orion, the Hunter, rise from the dawn glow into the eastern sky. (Orion’s belt, a nearly vertical line of three stars midway between them, isn’t plotted.) Farther north and lower is Pollux, with Castor, the other Gemini Twin, not plotted, 4½° above.

Faint reddish Mars and bright yellowish Jupiter appear no more than 5° apart July 11-August 1, and as close as 0.8° apart on July 22. By July 25 Mercury has emerged as a first-magnitude “star” to their lower left, and brightening to mag. 0 by month’s end.

The waning crescent Moon in the morning sky passes near the Pleiades star cluster on July 4 and 31, near Aldebaran on July 5 and August 1, near Mars and Jupiter on July 6 and August 3-4, and near Mercury on August 5.

Robert D. Miller did graduate work in Planetarium Science and later astronomy and computer science at Michigan State University and remains active in research and public outreach in astronomy.

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.

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California Science Test Academy for Educators

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018

California Science Test Academy for Educators

To support implementation of the California Science Test (CAST), the California Department of Education is partnering with Educational Testing Service and WestEd to offer a one-day CAST Academy for local educational agency (LEA) science educators, to be presented at three locations in California from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As an alternative to traveling, LEA teams can participate virtually via WebEx on one of the dates listed below.

The dates and locations for the CAST Academy are as follows:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018—Sacramento
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018—Fresno
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018—Irvine

The CAST Academy will help participants develop a deeper understanding of the assessment design and expectations of the CAST. The academy also will provide information and activities designed to assist educators in their implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional learning to help them gain an understanding of how these new science assessment item types can inform teaching and learning. The CAST Academy dates above are intended for school and district science instructional leaders, including teacher leaders, teacher trainers, and instructional coaches. Additional trainings will be offered at a later date specifically for county staff. In addition, curriculum, professional development, and assessment leaders would benefit from this training.

A $100 registration fee will be charged for each person attending the in-person training. Each virtual team participating via WebEx will be charged $100 for up to 10 participants through one access point. Each workshop will have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 50 virtual teams. Each virtual team will need to designate a lead, who is responsible for organizing the group locally. Registration and payment must be completed online at http://www.cvent.com/d/6tqg8k.

For more information regarding the CAST Academy, please contact Elizabeth Dilke, Program Coordinator, Educational Testing Service, by phone at 916-403-2407 or by e‑mail at caasppworkshops@ets.org.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.