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Chouteau Astronomy Club
Some of the Cat's Eyes with teacher, Mrs. Debbie Evans

Some of the Cat's Eyes with teacher, Mrs. Debbie Evans

Located about 35 miles east of Tulsa Oklahoma, Chouteau High School in Chouteau, Oklahoma has recently chartered the Chouteau Astronomy Club. Drawn together by our interest in observational astronomy we chose to name ourselves the Cat's Eyes as our school mascot is the Wildcat. Thus we have a ready made mascot of our own - the Cat's Eye Nebula.

Our first public event which initiated the formation of our club was a Sun Party held last spring. Originally planned for one day, it proved so popular that a second day was needed! Mrs. Apple brought her Nexstar 8 and Max Scope 40 to show us the sun in both white light and H alpha. We had rain the morning of the first day, but then it cleared off and the sun cooperated by giving us a real show with five prominences! One looked very like the McDonald's "M" and was quite large so that made it easy for even the Kindergarteners to see. For about two weeks afterward high school club members tracked and recorded sunspot activity using the internet.

Students observing the sun with Mrs. Apple's Max Scope 40

Students observing the sun with Mrs. Apple's Max Scope 40

This was followed by a public star party held on our football field later in the spring. Members of the Astronomy Club of Tulsa brought telescopes to help with the event. We were fortunate to have great weather and were able to observe the moon, Jupiter and its moons. The community was invited and in spite of several competing events in our area we had about 100 people in attendance.

This fall we were formally chartered through the high school with Mrs. Evans, our science teacher and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, serving as our school advisor. Mrs. Apple, an amateur astronomer from the Astronomy Club of Tulsa and also a certified science teacher, serves as our scientist advisor. Our first meeting brought over thirty high school students to sign up. Since then we have added several more including two elementary students and one middle school student for a total of 40 members. A few of us own small telescopes and are trying to learn to use them.

Our planned lunar eclipse observation was lost to rain, however, Mrs. Apple did a presentation for us about the moon and her husband brought a copy of the Virtual Lunar Atlas for us to use that night so we learned a great deal and enjoyed ourselves anyway. We have been plagued by poor weather this fall!

We are now affiliated with the City Lights Astronomical Society for Students and thanks to its head, John Wagoner, each of our members has received a planisphere so that we may begin to learn the night sky. We also are now eligible to do observing lists set up by CLASS and to earn observing awards.

We have been invited to attend a star party at the Astronomy Club of Tulsa RMCC Observatory so that we can observe from a darker sky site and look through telescopes belonging to the members of ACT and the 16" reflector housed in the observatory.

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