HAMMOND | Webelos Cub Scouts of Pack 773, which meets at Annunciata Parish on the East Side, spent their afternoon learning and completing their Astronomy Merit Badge at the Challenger Learning Center on the Purdue University Calumet campus in Hammond led by Flight Director Ann Vassar.
The day started off remembering the fallen heroes from the Space Shuttle Challenger, and the Scouts learned the center is a memorial to these astronauts. The Scouts immediately worked on astronomy by learning terms such as star, planet, solar system, galaxy, Milky Way, black hole, red giant, white dwarf, comet, meteor, moon, asteroid and the universe. They then used the information to diagram the solar system. The Scouts were so inquisitive they could have spent the entire day discussing these terms and the infinity of space.
Time was also spent discussing the current event of the meteor that fell in Russia and learning about missions to the moon.
The second part of the day was spent learning how to use a telescope and identifying its parts. The Scouts each had a chance to use a telescope and binoculars.
The day ended in the Challenger's Planetarium where they learned to identify constellations such as Jupiter, Polaris (North Star), Big Dipper, Little Dipper and others.
The Scouts came to the workshop quite knowledgeable but walked out of there knowing so much more about the universe they call home. Of course one of the highlights for the Scouts was being able to purchase a souvenir from the space shop.
The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana at Purdue University Calumet, 2300 173rd St., has many other programs for youth. Call (219) 989-3250 or check the website www.clcnwi.com for a listing of summer programs they will be offering.