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Mapping the stars


Ewing leads 8 students in trip to Mount Wilson Observatory

Surveying the stars is a common passion for the 8 students traveling to the Mount Wilson Observatory for two nights on June 11. They will be working with astronomers across the United States in online meetings to plan a research paper on a double star, or two stars very close together that revolve around each other or a common center. Pictures of stars from the Las Cumbres Observatory, with telescopes all across the world, will be used to collect data on its position. Future data on the star’s position, in conjunction with the students’ work, will be able to track the path of its orbit. 

The 100-inch telescope housed at the Wilson Observatory.

Students will work with instructor Jon-Paul Ewing, a teacher at Paso Robles High School (with courses in anatomy & physiology as well as marine biology), and InStar personnel (Institute for Student Astronomical Research) to conduct the research and plan the paper.  

Jon-Paul Ewing, teacher at PRHS. Instructor for the eight students on the trip.

“Keeping track of the movement of a star, through mapping its change in position over time, can be used to find the stars mass and the path of its orbit. We find the angle of separation between the two stars as well as their change in position when we plan the research paper.” Ewing said when describing the practical applications of the data they will collect in the future research of other scientists. Scientists use data on the movement of stars to calculate their mass, which can be used to determine their age and lifespan.


The Mount Wilson Observatory, a historic facility, features an 100-inch telescope that students will spend an evening using on the tour, “this is the same telescope

that Edwin Hubble used to determine the size and shape of the universe” Ewing stated.

Though the applications for the 2019 trip ended March 1st, students with an interest in astronomy should look forward t

Two white circles shown is an example of a double star, two stars very close together.

o a future trip and consult Mr. Ewing in room 305 for more details.   




Photos retrieved from link provided 



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