• JMO Scrapbook - Favorite Photos, Events and Articles


    NASA Essay Contest Winner 

    Melissa Noble, 8th Grade Advanced ELA Teacher, has a student that won 1st place in a NASA essay contest! 8th grader Hannah Rhee won the contest! Her essay was for the target of Saturn. She will have her essay published on the NASA website along with her picture. 
    Watch the Channel 12 News Story
    Hannah Rhee

    Solar System activity


    Do the Math

    7th grade math classes have been visiting the Observatory and learning about ratio and proportion. They have been doing a fun activity called, "Honey I Shrunk the Solar System!"

    Bob Cabana interview

    ELA Class Interviews Astronaut From Minnesota

    Ms. Noble's class paid a visit to the JMO to interview Astronaut Bob Cabana. Mr. Cabana was born and grew up in Minnesota and is now the director of Kennedy Space Center!
    The JMS students were among three other schools from around the country that participated in the hour-long conference, and Cabana offered three bits of advice to the four schools' students.
    "Do your best in school; do something you really enjoy-life should be fun; and don't give up if you don't first succeed," he said. 
    Read more about Director Cabana  

    Moon with craters

    Craters on the Moon 

    On the right is a picture of three craters on the Moon. It was taken with the LPI camera on October 15, 2010 at about 9:00 PM. This is a prominent crater trio of Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus, and Arzachel. These craters are next to Mare Nubium.
    The Sun with sunspots


    The Sun with sunspots
    on November 27, 2010.

    Look at the two pictures below. What is different about them? 

    Venus This is Venus on October 11, 2010 at 2:00 PM
    Venus This picture of Venus was taken on November 11 at about 2:30 PM

    Saturn in the Morning Sky

    Saturn looks like a bright golden star. It spends the entire year in the constellation Virgo, the virgin. Saturn is at its best in late March, when it's closest to Earth. It disappears behind the Sun in September, then returns to view in the morning sky in late October.
    Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets. All four gas giant planets have rings - made of chunks of ice and rock - but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's. Like the other gas giants, Saturn is mostly a massive ball of hydrogen and helium. 
    Saturn on November 3, 2010 at 7:30 AM. 
    Kennedy Space Center

    Bolden, Lindsey Mark Discovery's Successful Flight

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    About two hours after space shuttle Discovery's final return from space, the crew of the shuttle and NASA officials took a few moments to mark the spacecraft's accomplishments. Discovery spent a year in space during the course of its 39 missions, the first of which launched in August 1984. This shuttle carried NASA's Hubble Space Telescope into orbit and made both of the shuttle program's return-to-flight missions. Its roster of astronauts includes Charles Bolden, now administrator of the space agency.
    Anoka-Hennepin + NASA = Out of this World Opportunity
    NASA is sponsoring an educator workshop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at Jackson Middle School in Champlin. The workshop puts teachers in touch with current and upcoming space missions and relevantclassroom connections. The workshop is free to all Anoka-Hennepin teachers. There is a $25 charge for teachers from outside the district.

    "On site, we'll be doing educational activities thatteachers can use in their classrooms," said Dee McLellan, observatorycoordinator at Jackson Middle School.

    For example, one activity McLellan planned after a February 14 rendezvous between a NASA satellite and a comet is a lesson on stereo pairs. Students will download photos of the comet (which NASA previously shot a projectile into to create a crater) and create stereo images to view them in3D. Students will have an opportunity to share their observations with the scientists who are studying the comet.

    NASA has plans for a variety of robotic missions that teachers can incorporate into lessons using NASA materials. March 19 is anopportunity to hear about many of them and make plans to incorporate them intolessons for students. 
    Educator Workshops  
    JMS Students

    Encounter of Comet Temple 1

    JMS students from Ms. Hoilad and Ms. Schendel's classes.

    Space Shuttle Endeavour to Launch in May

    The earliest Endeavour could be launched on the STS-134 mission is Tuesday, May 10. Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A removed the Load Control Assembly-2 (LCA-2) box in the orbiter's aft compartment last night. Teams are evaluating data from inspections and will install a new LCA-2 after evaluations and any repairs, if needed, have been made.

    Managers will continue to evaluate the repair process and make any additional adjustments before scheduling Endeavour's next launch attempt for its STS-134 mission to the International Space Station. 



    Meteors from Halley's Comet

    Earth is about to pass through a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on May 6th. Sky watchers who look during the dark hours before dawn on Friday could see between 10 and 40 meteors per hour.

    Space Shuttle Era Ends with Atlantis Landing

    Space shuttle Atlantis touched down on the Shuttle Landing Facility's Runway 15 at 5:57 a.m. EDT on July 21. After 200 orbits around Earth and a journey of 5,284,862 miles, the landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida brought to a close 30 years of space shuttle flights.

    "Although we got to take the ride," said Commander Chris Ferguson on behalf of his crew," we sure hope that everybody who has ever worked on, or touched, or looked at, or envied or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us."

    The STS-135 crew consisted of Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. 
    Space shuttle  

    NASA's Juno Spacecraft Ready For Launch

    Juno NASA's Juno spacecraft passes in front of Jupiter in this artist's depiction. The Juno mission is the first of NASA's three planetary missions launching this year, making 2011 one of the busiest ever in planetary exploration.

    The spacecraft is to lift off at 11:34 a.m. on Aug. 5 from 
    Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission faces a limited launch window to get off Earth before Jupiter's orbit took it out of alignment.

    After arriving at Jupiter in August 2016, the spacecraft will spend about a year surveying Jupiter and its moons to draw a detailed picture of its magnetic field and find out whether there is a solid core beneath its multi-colored clouds. 

    grail NASA Launches Mission to Study Moon

    NASA's twin lunar Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 9:08 a.m. EDT (6:08 a.m. PDT) Saturday, Sept. 10, to study the moon in unprecedented detail.

    GRAIL-A is scheduled to reach the moon on New Year's Eve 2011, while GRAIL-B will arrive New Year's Day 2012. The two solar-powered spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field. GRAIL will answer longstanding questions about the moon and give scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

    "If there was ever any doubt that Florida's Space Coast would continue to be open for business, that thought was drowned out by the roar of today's GRAIL launch," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "GRAIL and many other exciting upcoming missions make clear that NASA is taking its next big leap into deep space exploration, and the space industry continues to provide the jobs and workers needed to support this critical effort."

    The spacecraft were launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. The telemetry downlinked from both spacecraft indicates they have deployed their solar panels and are operating as expected.

    "Our GRAIL twins have the moon in their sights," said David Lehman, GRAIL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The mission team is ready to test, analyze and fine-tune our spacecraft over the next three-and-a-half months on our journey to lunar orbit."

    The straight-line distance from Earth to the moon is approximately 250,000 miles (402,336 kilometers). NASA's Apollo moon crews needed approximately three days to cover that distance. However, each spacecraft will take approximately 3.5 months and cover more than 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) to arrive. This low-energy trajectory results in the longer travel time. The science collection phase for GRAIL is expected to last 82 days.

    "Since the earliest humans looked skyward, they have been fascinated by the moon," said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. "GRAIL will take lunar exploration to a new level, providing an unprecedented characterization of the moon's interior that will advance understanding of how the moon formed and evolved."

    JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the GRAIL mission. It is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
    More information about GRAIL: 

    Jackson Middle School Observatory Adds Planetarium 

    Jackson Middle School (JMS) students will have the opportunity to further study the many wonders of the solar system with the addition of a planetarium to the school's Observatory. In her second year as the Observatory coordinator, Dee McLellan is excited about the new addition.

    "We can now operate on cloudy days to look at the sky," McLellan said. "We can use the planetarium to go forward and back in time in the universe, visit the Milky Way and in general do more than just look through the telescope."

    Mrs. McLellan with moon rocks McLellan, a NASA solar system educator has another surprise in store for students: lunar samples from the Apollo Missions. Apollo set major milestones in human spaceflight and Apollo 17 marked the last moonwalk and the last manned mission beyond low Earth orbit. The program spurred advances in many areas of technology incidental to rocketry and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and computers.

    McLellan will have the lunar samples for two weeks. She will use them during lessons about an upcoming lunar mission that will study the gravity of the moon and map its surface. McLellan hopes the lunar samples will inspire students to learn more about what is happening in space. It's exciting for JMS students to have the opportunity to have the samples on hand.

    "They are one of our national treasures," McLellan said. Because the material is irreplaceable, McLellan must keep the samples with her at all times. When she is not at work, McLellan delivers the samples to the Champlin Police Department where they are kept under lock and key.

    Another addition on display at the Observatory is a parachute from NASA's Genesis mission. The mission observed the solar wind, entrapped its particles and returned them to Earth. The Genesis capsule's return to Earth was planned as a mid-air recovery, and Hollywood stunt pilots were hired to attempt to capture the capsule as it parachuted to a landing at the Utah Test & Training Range.

    The parachute at JMS was used during a practice exercise. McLellan was able to obtain the parachute through her work with NASA. Using the story of the Hollywood stunt pilots being hired to capture the capsule as it returned from space, McLellan teaches students that not everyone has to be an astronaut to work for NASA. There are many other opportunities to work with the organization.

    The Observatory has also added 40 iPads for student use. They include astronomy software students can use during class and as a way to access A-H Connect for assignments. 

    NASA Captures New Images of Large Asteroid Passing Earth

    NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth. The space rock will make its closest approach to Earth on Nov. 8 at 5:28 p.m. CST. The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood. At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) or 0.85 the distance from the moon to Earth. 
    Image of asteroid  

    NASA's Kepler Confirms its First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star

    The Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone," where water could exist on a planet's surface. The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. 
    Kepler mission  

    Comet lovejoy Comet Lovejoy in the Morning

    Noted astronomer John Bortle urges observers (especially in the southern hemisphere) to "begin searching for Comet Lovejoy's bright tail projecting up out of the morning twilight beginning at dawn. The tails of some of the major sungrazing comets have been extraordinarily bright. Comet Lovejoy's apparition has been so bizarre up to this point that it is difficult to anticipate just what might happen nex... [including] the exact sort of tail it might unfurl in the morning sky."

    The morning of December 20, in New Zealand, Minoru Yoneto photographed the ghostly tail of Comet Lovejoy shining through the twilight. 

    Spiral Comet Tail

    Spiral comet tail As Comet Lovejoy recedes intact from its Dec. 16th close encounter with the sun, researchers are pondering a mystery: What made the comet's tail wiggle so wildly in transit through the sun's atmosphere? The effect is clear in this sequence of extreme UV images recorded by NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft:

    "Why the wiggles?" wonders Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab. "We're not sure. There might be some kind of helical motion going on. Perhaps we're seeing material in the tail magnetically 'clinging' to coronal loops and moving with them. [Coronal loops are huge loops of magnetism that emerge from the sun's surface and thread the sun's atmosphere.] There are other possibilities too."

    Battams notes that these images can be combined with similar images from STEREO-A on the other side of the sun to produce a three dimensional picture. "When we pair these together, and throw in the SDO images too, we should be able to get an incredibly unique 3-D picture of how this comet is reacting the the intense coronal heat and magnetic loops. We are going to learn a lot." 

    Venus transit Venus Transit

    Venus will move across the face of the Sun this afternoon, staging a rare event known as a transit. The planet will look like a small black dot slowly creeping across the Sun's northern hemisphere. It will be visible across the entire United States, but you need eye protection to view it. Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years. The first transit of this pair took place in 2004. The next transit won't occur until 2117.

    This photo was taken with the Jackson Middle School Observatory telescope on
    June 5, 2012. This will not happen again for over 100 years!

    Rover Leaves Tracks in Morse Code

    The straight lines in Curiosity's zigzag track marks are Morse code for JPL, which is short for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was built and the mission is managed.

    NASA rocket scientist Bobak Ferdowsi, who gained fame with his red, white and blue Mohawk, now has had the Morse code for JPL cut into this hairdo, in tribute to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Curiosity's Morse-code wheel track.
    Rover Morse Letters  Bobak Ferdowsi
    Photo Tips

    Photo Tips

    Astrophotographer John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio, offers "some tips for capturing your keepsake photo." Follow his recipe to take a picture like this:

    "Find a low west-northwest horizon," he advises. "Be ready before sunset, so you can mark the horizon where the sun set as a reference to find the comet. A digital camera with manual settings is all you need to photograph Pan-STARRS. Try 1 to 30 second exposures at ISO settings ranging from 400 to 1600, about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset. The twilight fades fast, so increase your ISO and exposure time to compensate." 

    Jackson Teachers' NASA Internship Will Help Students Become Better Scientists

    Thursday, May 17th, 2012
    Dee McLellan and Sarah Garrett Dee McLellan and Sarah Garrett, instructors at Jackson Middle School (JMS), A Specialty School for Math and Science, have been selected for a teacher/planetarium internship and curriculum development at National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

    McLellan is JMS's observatory coordinator and Garrett teaches science. JMS added a planetarium earlier this year.

    McLellan and Garrett will spend a week at Goddard in July. From then until the spring of 2013, they will work on lesson and planetarium program development. A formal evaluation of their lessons will take place and the unit will be completed in August 2013.

    The instructors will help develop a series of inquiry-based classroom activities and an interactive, inquiry-driven planetarium program about NASA Earth science. At Goddard, they will work directly with NASA scientists and education professionals to determine the content of the lessons. The lessons will be part of a series of five units that cover atmospheric composition, climate change, water and energy cycles, carbon cycle and ecosystems, and Earth-Sun interactions. The units developed in 2012 will be focused on the carbon cycle and ecosystems and climate change and variability.

    During the school year, teachers will:
    • Dee McLellan and Sarah Garrett Create inquiry-based classroom activities tied to national science standards and reviewed by NASA scientists that will help integrate the planetarium experience into the science classroom. Activities will make use of NASA data.
    • Test lessons with science classes using materials from the project's external evaluator.
    • Bring students to planetarium to test experience with evaluator.
    • Train other teachers in the region on how to use the lessons.
    Planetarians will:
    • Create a 30-40 minute interactive planetarium program on an aspect of Earth system science targeted to middle school students.
    • Test program with students.
    • Provide dome master files so program can be distributed to other planetaria.
    • Provide a flat-screen version of the program.
    McLellan is excited to have this relationship with NASA and to be able to work directly with the NASA scientists. "This is also exciting for our school and the district to be able to work with NASA directly," McLellan said. "The best part of this for me personally is to see the Jackson Observatory Program excite and engage students to want to learn more about any subject." 

    Fabrics and Food 

    Ms. Allison and Ms. Wolf-Lee FACS 7th grade classes learn about Fabrics and Food in Space by connecting directly to NASA!
    Fabrics and Food  Fabrics and Food 3 Fabrics and Food 2