17th Annual

Indiana Family Star Party

Sky Trekker and Sky Trekker Adult Programs

Sky Trekker/Sky Trek Adult Programs: The Sky Trekker observer's program for kids and has five levels. The first level, Level I, is designed for beginners and requires participants to use green lasers to find the following objects: six constellations, and Polaris.  They also look at 3 different objects through telescopes. The second level is Level IC (C for "Challenge").  It is for kids who have completed Level I before, or for kids who feel up to more of a challenge. Level IC participants must find 4 additional constellations, with everything else exactly the same as Level I.  In addition, Level IC participants get to slew an actual telescope around the sky for a few minutes, looking at anything that comes through the eyepiece.

The third level, Level II, is designed for and restricted to kids who have previous experience using binoculars and telescopes, as well as familiarity with several common constellations. They will be asked to find the same six constellations as Level I, five bright stars, and 3 deep space objects from five different categories, plus one solar system object (other than the earth) that must be sketched. The fourth level, Level IIC, is designed for and restricted to kids who have completed Level II before. These participants must find the same 4 additional constellations that Level IC participants find, and 1 more deep space object than Level II.  They must also find and sketch a solar system object.  If a child is experienced with a telescope or binoculars and would prefer the additional challenge of completing Level IIC, then the Program Coordinator would consider allowing him or her to bypass Level II.

The fifth level is the Junior Level.  Designated “Jr.”, it is for very young children who want to do what their older siblings are doing, or children with physical or developmental challenges.  To complete this level, a child only has to “find” the Big Dipper and Polaris. (The judging is not rigorous.)  Upon completion, the child is immediately eligible to pick out a star pillow prize and have a Dilly Bar-without waiting for other children to complete anything.  It is recommended that parents attend with these youngsters.

New this year: Sky Trek Adult!  Adult participants will follow the exact same programs as Level I or Level IC.  It’s for people aged 18 or over who would like to learn some constellations right along with their children or just for their own interest.  There are no Level II or Level IIC equivalents for adults.

Those wishing to participate must sign up at the Nature Center by 7:45 p.m. Friday or Saturday.
Participants will be given a Sky Trekker booklet and a planisphere (limit: one planisphere per family). A Sky Trekker / Sky Trek Adult Launch session will be held each evening at 8:00 p.m. in the Nature Center. Sky Trekker and Sky Trek Adult examinations will begin at 10:00 p.m. Upon completion of the program, all participants will receive an ice cream treat.  Participants who successfully complete their program will be recognized with a certificate and will have their names put into a drawing for a very nice prize!

The Sky Trekker program was featured in the March 2009 issue of the Astronomical League's "Reflector" magazine. The article is here. A pdf file of a recent Sky Trekker booklet is here.