Holding a 4.5 Billion Year Old Meteorite, Creating a Comet, and the Rachel Telescope

Last night, our Cub Scout Pack visited the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA for a special workshop and tour.  On the tour, we attended a workshop where the kids in the pack got a chance to create a Comet and identify space rocks!  The comet creation process was really a once in a lifetime opportunity and the scouts got a chance to cook one up by following a recipe with the following ingrediants:

  • Water (H2O)
  • Iron and Magnesium
  • Silicone and Calcium
  • Sugar
  • Nitrogen
  • CO2

Each of the scouts was given a task to add the elements into a bowl (Blake added the Sugar)

After the ingrediants were added to the bowl, the scouts crushed the Dry Ice (CO2) into a fine powder and then added it to the mixture.  After shaping the comet, the end result looked like a dirty snowball of ice, gas, and dust, just like a real comet!

Another part of workshop had the scouts identify earth rocks from space rocks.  Each box contained 3 rocks from space.  I held one of the meteorites in the box and it felt really heavy.  Then it dawned on me that I was literally holding a piece of history as this rock has been around since the birth of our solar system over 4.5 billion years ago.  You can see some of metal in rock reflecting in the photo.

The experience at Chabot was amazing!  To top off the night we got a chance to have a private viewing through thier telescopes.  We viewed the Moon and Jupiter, which was very cool!  It was a clear night and the viewing of Jupiter was even better than the one I viewed from my backyard back in December.  We got a private viewing of these objects through the Leah telescope but I went back up later in the evening and viewed Jupiter through the Rachel telescope, a 20″ refactor built in 1915 (see below).

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