The 125 13-year-old girls attending Tech Trek Science
Camp for Girls are selected by their school for attendance at this
special camp geared to encourage the best and brightest girls to
study science and engineering. The camp is sponsored by the
American Association of University Women and held yearly.
As part of a series of lectures entitled "Girls Just Want to Have Astro Fun" by
Lynne Greer Jolitz , Chief Technology Officer of ExecProducer and Berkeley physics alumna.
Rebecca brought her Celestron C-5 Schmidt-Cassagrain telescope and demonstrated
how such a telescope with equitorial mount is aligned on Polaris and used to find objects
in the sky, what declination and azimuth means in practice using the telescope, how
objects are acquired, and what types of eyepieces are best for planets, resolving double
stars like Alberio, and finding deep sky objects. Alberio, which looks like a single star to the unaided eye, resolves
with her telescope into a brilliant blue and gold double star. Alberio is one of Rebecca's favorite
objects to find in the night sky - one she calls the "Cal Star" since blue and gold are Berkeley's
Rebecca is easily three years younger than her audience, but seeing an elementary
school girl easily handle the telescope impressed and emboldened these
young middle school scientists in training. After Rebecca demonstrated many elements
of the telescope, volunteers in the audience also took a shot at working the telescope.
Women in science often do not acquire the casual training in instruments that men
receive, often because boys are just expected to make things work while girls are
expected to wait for instruction. It is hoped that demonstrating competence in a
scientific instrument and allowing for error will encourage these girls to take a more
hands-on approach to science.