Skip To Main Content

Language Selection

Observatory Senior Projects

Nate Kessler and Charles Tang Stellar Spectroscopy

There are no resources to display

Nate and Charles worked with Astronomer Sean Curry to capture spectra of each classification of main sequence star.  While collecting spectra, star RS Ophiuchi went Nova.  The star brightened significantly as a white dwarf stole hydrogen from a neighboring red giant.  This event happens about every 15 years.  Their data was submitted to the ARAS database and was used to understand the Nova event.

Emily Roeder Senior Project SSP Program

There are no resources to display

Emily attended a Summer Science Camp at the University of Colorado at Boulder and mapped the trajectory of Asteroid JeffWynn.

First image: Emily Roeder in the planetarium

Second image: Robert Black and Emily

Third image: Jeffwynn Asteroid Orbit around our solar system

Medford Mail Tribune Article : 

There are no resources to display

Astral Photography by Garret Wienert 2019

Garret took deep sky photos with the help and guidance of Dave Bloomsness.

Image #1  Garrett and Dave at the Planetarium 11-20-19

Image #2 The Ring Nebula M57 in Lyra

Image #3 The Owl Nebula M97 and M108 a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major

Image # 4 The Pelican Nebula near Cygnus the Swan

There are no resources to display

Lindsey Young Retrograde Motion Of the Planet Mars

June-August 2018

Lindsey took a picture of Mars every 3 days and stitched the images together to show the motion of Mars across the sky. When Earth passes Mars at Opposition, Mars appears to move backwards or what is called retrograde motion. Planets generally move across the sky from west to east which is prograde motion. The superior planets go retrograde ( east to west) after every oppsosition with planet Earth.

Kendall Wright 2018

Kendall created an informational pamphlet that outlines the problems and dangers associated with Light Pollution. kendall passed out the pamphlets at Science Works Museum, The NMHS Planetarium, and and local Earth Day Events. Kendall also gave a presentation to the Southern Oregon Sky Watchers in the Planetarium.

There are no resources to display

Cesar Espinosa

Cesar wrote a lab that helped students visualize and quantify the event that began our Universe " The Big Bang". Using industrial rubber bands and a scaled model of near and distant galaxies, the lab allows students to calculate the rate of expansion and re-discover the observations made by Dr. Edwin Hubble in the 1920's that more distant galaxies are receding at a faster rate than nearby galaxies.

There are no resources to display

Senior Project 2016-2017:

Molly Woodard: Molly remotely operated the Tzec Maun Telescope located in the remote hills of Australia. Molly patiently awaited good weather and relief from wild fires to capture some amazing images of the Southern Sky.

First Image: Siding Spring Observatory, Australia

Second Image: NGC 3372

Third Image: Distant Galaxy Centaurus A

There are no resources to display

Senior Projects 2015-2016 Ginni Denney

Ginni Denney filmed and documented the Total Lunar Eclipse of Sept. 27th, 2015 and she participated in a crater timing project led By Dr. Roger Sinnott of Harvard University. Ginni timed the exact moment that the umbral shadow of the Earth bisected known craters of the Moon. Dr. Sinoott’s work is an attempt to quantify the exact size of the Earth’s shadow projected into space. Ginni’s data agreed with other observatory timings from across North America.

There are no resources to display

Senior Projects 2015-2016 Hannah Silver

Hannah documented the phases of Venus as it orbits the Sun. The phases of Venus was the observation taken by Galileo in the 1600’s that proved the Heliocentric Model of the Solar System. The Earth centered solar system could not create the phases of Venus observed in his telescope.

There are no resources to display

Senior Projects 2015-2016 Kendrick Miller

Kendrick Miller help design, develop, implement, and teach a project called AstroBioBound. This project, inspired by work at Arizona State University, has student groups, design, engineer and attempt a NASA Mission of discovery to find life in our Solar System. Students plans are scored based upon a NASA rubric designed by Arizona State University. This was the senior project of Kendrick Miller, who successfully taught all 4 class periods needed to begin and finalize the class project.

There are no resources to display

Senior Project Danielle Feagan

Danielle Feagan: Danielle studied the sun during a solar maximum. She took pictures of the sun using a solar filter and an H alpha filter and a DSLR camera. She learned to operate the telescopes in the observatory and calculated the Sun's Wolf sunspot number to help determine the threat of coronal mass ejections and their effects on Earth. 

There are no resources to display

Jack Freda 

Jack Freda worked on locating, identifying and taking photographs of the Planetary Nebulae. Planetary Nebulae are the remains of stars that are no longer actively fusing new elements in their core and are essentially decomposing in space. The image is the "Ring Nebula M-57 in the constellation Lyra". Jack stacked six three minute images taken with a DSLR camera, using an 11" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope. 

There are no resources to display

Megan Duke: Lunar Eclipse 

Megan Duke took hundreds of images on the Total Lunar Eclipse of October 8, 2014. This image was taken through a C-14 Schmidt-Cassegrain using a three second exposure on a DSLR Camera. The image, taken at 3:30 am, shows the 7th Planet Uranus to the left of the Moon. Megan also used PhotoShop to superimpose lunar eclipse images over a sunrise picture of North Medford High School. 

There are no resources to display

Della Delaney: Transit of Venus  Della viewed, photographed and timed the Transit of Venus from the NMHS Observatory on June, 5th 2012. She also made a film of the entire event as photographed from the Big Island of Hawaii by Astronomer John Bunyon. This rare astronomical event will not be seen again from Earth for 105 years. The timing of the contact of Venus against the sun is how astronomers first discovered the size of our solar system and the distance from the Earth to the Sun ( 1 astronomical unit or 150,000,000 km.)

Video List  

Transit of Venus

YouTube Video

Author: Della Delaney   
Length: 4:56 

Sequioa Dubeau: Solar maximum and sunspot rotation Sequioa  stitched together 1,400 images of the sun from the Solar Max 2001-2004 to the next Solar Max of 2012 to the present. Sunspot activity crescendos every eleven years due to the sun reversing polarity and that manifesting into increased sunspot size and frequency. It is interesting to note how quiet the sun becomes during the years 2008-2009 ( Solar Minimum). The images from 2003 are distorted due the monster coronal mass ejection that crippled SOHO ( Solar Heliospheric Observatory) for a time. Astronomers are concerned with sunspots since they are the source of Coronal Mass Ejections. The radiation from Coronal Mass Ejections can harm astronauts, damage the satellite fleet, cause electrical blackouts and they are the trigger for the Aurora Borealis.  By the way, Galileo was wrong back in 1613. The sunspots do not race across the sun like black tornadoes, the sunspots are stationary and the sun rotates once every 28 days. Watch it here:  Ryan McKee: Operate A3P Spitz Planetarium Projection System  Ryan has spent his Senior year learning how to operate the A3P Spitz Planetarium Projection System. He has assisted  Mr. Black with numerous elementary school programs.  In addition to the Northern Sky, He has studied the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, which will culminate in a Planetarium Show for the public from 7:00 to 9:00 pm on March 20th , 2013. 

Southern Sky

John Walker: Hat-P-36b For my senior project I located Hat-P-36b (an exoplanet: a planet orbiting another star outside of our solar system). This proved to be a very challenging task with many problems taking me by surprise. In the end it all came together.  I tracked and photographed the star Hat-36b for 4 continuous hours and watched as the light emitted from the star decreased as the Hot Jupiter Planet orbited in front of the star. This star is located in the Constellation Canes Venatici which is two stars that represent the hunting dogs of Bootes ( the Bear Herder). 

John Walker

Brandon Schot: Spectograh of the star Procyon in the Constellation Canis Minor Brandon conducted a spectrographic analysis of certain stars. Applied in mainly in astrophysics, spectroscopy is an extremely important tool that scientists use to study the light spectrum, which will help determine the chemical properties of stars or substances.. Without the use of spectroscopy, astronomers wouldn’t be able to study the fascinating elements that make up our universe that we all live in. Overall the project was a humbling process and inspired me to possibly pursue a career in astronomy.

Brandon Schot Senior Project

Daniel Lion: Algol  Daniel is taking pictures of Algol, the brightest star in the constellation Perseus. Algol is the mythical head of Medusa and known as the demon star. What makes Algol special is that it is an eclipsing binary (variable)star whose brightness changes every 3.5 days. Daniel is measuring the luminosity and the rate variability in this ancient star. Daniel has taken some good pictures of Algol and hopes to present his pictures and data to the Southern Oregon Astronomy Club.

Daniel Algol Senior Project

Zach Demaree: Betelgeuse Zach took pictures of Betelgeuse (The eighth brightest star in the night sky). Betelgeuse is a red super giant that is in the constellation Orion and is in the final stages of star death. In the final stages of star death a star goes supernova its nuclear fusion products are spewed into the universe to allow the provenance of other stars and planets. This lends credence to the sobering realization that this is the fate of all super massive stars. Zach measured both Betelgeuse's magnitude and luminosity so that he can have a better understanding of stellar evolution.

Zach Demaree Senior Project

Kendra Straub: Light Pollution Kendra’s goal was to inform the community about the negative effects of light pollution. She has been volunteering at Wildlife Images to show that hazards of light pollution on animal population. In addition, she has a premier for an independent film in the planetarium titled, The City Dark, that focuses on how to prevent light pollution and its adverse effects on society. Average Americans know of the dangers of “air pollution's” and “water pollution's”, but there is another danger called light pollution, and Kendra wants the community to become involved in the prevention of this pollution.

Kendra Straub Senior Project

Michael Guevara: Lunar 100

Michael Guevara took pictures of the lunar 100, which is similar to the seven wonders of the world but they are located on the moon's surface. So far he has taken pictures of the moon during a full moon, waxing gibbous, and during the total lunar eclipse 12-10-11. The moon has more to offer than what meets the eye.

There are no resources to display