Blog & Announcements

June - August: First Summer 2021 of Observing

Here are our images from our Summer 2021 of observing!

Our possible targets included:

nebulae - M57 Ring Nebula, NGC 6543 Cats Eye Nebula, NGC 6960 Western Veli Nebula, M27 Dumbell Nebula

globular clusters - M3 and M5

galaxies - M64 Black Eye M51 Whirlpool

Saturn/Jupiter - Rises LATE

We will also practice our guiding Telescope alignment, guiding and imaging skills for varoius targets.

If you plan to join our observing sessions:

  1. Arrive at the Bush School Black Gate on Harrison around 9:30 PM (if needing directions, please ask)

  2. You will need a mask and wear it the entire time we observe

  3. Please bring a flashlight with you, wear warm clothes, bring some snacks and water to drink for yourself

  4. You need to complete this linked Heath Screening form before arriving

Additional details for today’s session can be found at The Bush Telescope Website

- Chandru

6/7: Gratitude

Dear Astronomers,

Chandru and I are so very proud of each one of you for putting together a fantastic exhibition today! I have already received several compliments from faculty members and parents. You put up such a polished, engaging and fun presentation! It was a

✨ STELLAR ✨ finale to our time together. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

It has been a genuine pleasure to get to know each of you outside the traditional classroom setting. Your enthusiasm, spirit, and sportsmanship is remarkable. I can't wait to see many of you in my courses in the next academic year!

Since this is the first time we have offered such a Cascade, we would be very grateful if you could please take a few minutes and fill out this Course Retrospective at your earliest convenience. Your honest feedback will help us improve the Cascade experience for future students.

Finally, Chandru and I would like to wish each of you a healthy, relaxing and enjoyable summer break. You have certainly earned it!

Our best wishes,

Rachana & Chandru

6/7: Telescope & Astronomy Cascade Final Presentation

6/7: Exhibition of Learning

Students and Parents will be attending the Exhibition of Learning using ZOOM Session 11:30 -12:00 PM


  1. Introduction by Chandru (2 min)

  2. Students will recall a memory or blooper from our Cascade (8 min)

  3. Students will conduct an Astronomy Quiz (8 min)

  4. A star walk video from our Community Night (10 min)

  5. Conclusion by Rachana (2 min)

6/4: Final day of the Cascade!

Yes, we have now come to the last and final day of our Cascade! It has been an exhilarating journey. In our Zoom session this morning at 11:00 AM, we will discuss our plans for the Exhibition of Learning on Monday. As planned, we will also meet tonight at 9:00 PM to observe via the Telescope (if Mother Nature allows), finalize Monday's presentation, pick up mementos and say our parting goodbyes.

6/3: The Magic of the Bush Telescope as operated by the students!

6/2: A community night under the stars with the real stars of the show - our students!

It was truly wonderful to spend this evening with our young Astronomers, Parents and families, Friends, Faculty & Staff and their families and marvel at our Universe!

6/1: A spectacular night of imaging the heavens!

My dear Astronomers: We had a precious night together imaging the stars, galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters. I cannot express adequately how proud Rachana and I are about your poise, knowledge, patience and enthusiasm to learn and teach others about our Universe. Here are some pictures we took last night built as a Google Album. Be sure to look at comments on pictures that have an astronomical target on them!

Google Album of Student Images from Jun 1st Observing Night

6/1: Observing tonight & Telescope Cascade Community night tomorrow!

  1. Tue, June 1:

    1. Morning: ZOOM session 9:-00-11:00 AM for Cascade students

    2. Evening: ON_CAMPUS 9:00 PM-Midnight Observing Session night for students (parents welcome) plan/dry-run targets and workflow to observe for community night

  2. Wed, Jun 2:

    1. Morning: ZOOM session 9:-00-11:00 AM for Cascade students

    2. Evening: ON_CAMPUS 7:30-11:00 PM INVITATION FOR COMMUNITY NIGHT OF OBSERVING FOR PARENT FAMILIES. Meeting will start with discussion of cascade results and an introduction to a possible Las Cumbres Observatory Astronomy project during the Fall Semester. This will be followed by a student conducted and real-time, remote digital observing session of various astronomical targets. The evening session will be held in the Community Room where parents can digitally view through the Bush Telescope operated by students from the Turf field outside. Please complete the Visitor Health Information Form before arriving. Please arrive at the Black Gate on Harrison

  3. Thu/Fri Jun 3/4: ON_CAMPUS 8:30 AM-2:30 PM: Wrap-up sessions for students

  4. Mon Jun 7: ZOOM Session 11:30-12:30 AM: Exhibition of Learning

5/29: Successful night of Specrtroscopy & Imaging!

We had a very successful night of observing and astro photography last night. Finally, mother nature gave us a crystal clear moonless night. We started at 9:00 AM and finished slightly beyond midnight. And, what a night it was!

We had 3 telescopes setup - The Bush Telescope, a smaller 5” Celestron Nexstar scope and the classic Bowling Ball Astroscan telescope!

  1. We recognized constellations in the sky with our naked eyes - Ursa Major (Big Dipper), Leo, Cygnus (Northern Cross), Hercules, Bootes, Auriga, and Lyra. Of course, we also saw the International Space Station (a beautiful bright gold “star") rapidly moving across the sky - spotted first by Reed!

  2. We looked through the eyepiece at various targets including the stars Vega in Lyra, Arcturus in Bootes, Capella in Auriga, Y Cvn in Canes Venatici and Albireo in Cygnus. What stole the night in visual observing were the ISS, the blood red YCvn the Carbon star, and the beautiful Albireo - a gold and blue double star!

  3. We took spectra of multiple stars, including Arcturus a Type A star, Y Cvn a Type N star, and Denebola a Type M star. We took pictures for stacking as well as video.

Spectral Images Obtained through Bush Telescope

  1. We imaged the Hercules Globular Cluster M13 (40 pictures) and M94 (100 pictures), these will be stacked later on to increase the signal to noise ratio. I have included single pictures here to this email. We will process these in class next week to see the full beauty and science we captured tonight!

I want to thank everyone who came to observe - the young astronomers and their parents who cheerfully helped setup, calibrate, align the telescopes, observe with the same child-like enthusiasm of their children, to break down and put away the telescopes. I particularly enjoyed talking to parents about future and continued explorations in science as a result of this cascade and other CS classes. Have a great memorial day break and looking forward to seeing you on another day of observing!

Please note that the next day of observing could be as early as Tuesday of next week - Stay Tuned for schedule updates.

*** STUDENTS: You will find images and video in the Photos app on your own mobile devices (iPad, iPhone) you used last night for imaging. Please upload these to the Google Photos Field Album as soon as possible! We do not want to lose them. ***

5/28: Observing Plan for tonight!

We will be trying to get these following targets tonight. Any help I can get from you all will be greatly appreciated!

We will also have 3 telescopes on hand. I will need you help operating the 2 other telescopes which I plan to have going. We will get those operational first.

Please bring warm clothes, hat/hoodies, gloves etc. Bring some snacks to eat and beverages to drink. Bring your binoculars if you have them. AND Bring your mobile phones / iPads where ASIair and Sky Safari was installed. Make sure that it is charged.

Please bring flash lights, or better still, head lamps if you have them!

I plan to be there at 7:00 PM as there will be setup to do. You are welcome to come earlier, or at 9:00 PM. Please come to the Black Gate. Please call me on my mobile (206) 351-8170 when you are at the gate!

I will give you your sticky badge. Please have your parents use this link to complete health info if they plan to come!

No Moon tonight as it will rise very late.

Bush Telescope workflow 5/28:

  1. Arcturus - get laser ptr aligned

  2. Get approximate focus

  3. Get image plate solve

  4. goto home

  5. image plate solve

  6. Polar align

  7. Goto Alkaid get focus with mask

  8. Get spectrum - pictures and video

Targets 5/28 _ Even if we get 2 or 3 that will be great!

  1. Go to Y CVN spectrum - pictures and video

  2. Goto Denebola spectrum - pictures and video

  3. Goto R Leo spectrum - pictures and video

  4. Image M 94

  5. Image M 106

  6. Image M13

  7. Image M 51

  8. Image M 63

  9. Image M 51

5/28: Walk through the HRD!

5/27: Women Astronomers Activity

5/27: Yesterday's Presentation from Pat Boyce

5/26: HRD activity & New Sun Spots!

5/26: Total Lunar Eclipse & Blood Moon - 2:45 AM to 4:11 AM (Totality) ending at Sunrise

5/26: Sachin's amazing Moon photographs posted in honor of the Blood Moon Eclipse at 4:11 AM!

5/24: Supernovae, Star Photometry & QUIZ!

Here is what's on the docket for today:




See all the details here!

5/24: Student Spectral Images & Video Processed bt Tom Field- Thanks Tom!

5/23: Images from Week 1 of the Cascade!

5/22: Observing Notes and Request for Uploading Images

Rachana & I want to thank all of you for participating in observing the last 2 nights. Although things did not go quite as I had planned, all of you made it better by showing poise and patience under difficult circumstances. On Thursday we had to battle clouds. On Friday, we battled the Camera on the telescop, it was humbling. These trials are part of our learning process as we pursue higher education and honing our skills as learners. Remember the talk by Astronomer Lauren Herrington last week where she reminded us that even professional astro-physicists could not identify Polaris in the Sky. I am positive that each one of you can identify Polaris and do much more indeed!! Each one of you persevered (like our Perseverance rover on Mars) during our first nights of observation and lunar photography.

We had to abandon our efforts to obtain star spectra. Despite this we made progress in imaging the Moon. The progress we made is in fact attributable to you as you discovered settings in ASIair that helped set the correct exposure, although intermittently. Of course, Tom Field and his masterful handling of his scope produces some spectacular sights. I appreciate his patience and kindness to volunteer his time and contribute significantly to our cascade and to our learning - Thank You Tom!! My sincere thanks also goes to students/parents who volunteered to come early and stayed back later to help break down the telescope.

I have linked the 2 images I took here along with the Moon Globe images of the area we imaged. You have taken many more yourselves, please add them to the album linked below. There are many dozens of Craters and Apollo related history we can observe in these images. We will do this as a workshop when we review it together next week. I promise you that I will work to address issues with the camera before we meet for another observing session next week and hopefully obtain star spectra.

Please see images here and add your own pictures from the mobile devices taken via the ASIair app.

You should be able to find them in the Photos App of your Mobile devices.

In the meanwhile, we planning some interesting hands-on labs with parallax and the distance ladder to the Universe, and the Hertzsprung Russel diagram depicting the life of stars. In addition, we are fortunate to have Astro physicists Molly Wakeling, Stella Kafka and Astro educator extraordinaire Pat Boyce to come and address our class during the next 2 weeks.

Have a great weekend. Rachana & I will see you all next week!

5/21: Zoom Friday Morning & Moon/Double Star Imaging at Night

ZOOM REMOTE ONLY for all students at 9:00 AM and After-dinner observation 8:30 PM ON-CAMPUS - click to see details of program!

Good Morning All. It was quite a night last night. ALL students - please log in using the link below.


5/21: Camera Exposure Issue

5/20: Zoom in the Morning & Moon/Double Star Observing at Night

ZOOM REMOTE ONLY for all students at 9:00 AM and After-dinner observation 6:30 PM ON-CAMPUS - click to see details of program!



  1. Please arrive on time @6:30 PM so that I can let everyone in at the gate. If you are going to be late, please do call me at (206) 351-8170 t o let me know.

  2. Dress Warmly - Jacket, Hats, Gloves are essential

  3. Bring a beverage/snack for yourself (hot chocolate ?? Pop corn etc) - If it were not for COVID, I could have got it for all of you :(

  4. Bring your Sky Safari installed Mobile Device (Make sure it is charged)

  5. Come to the Black Gate and call me to open gate (206) 351-8170

  6. Parents/Guardians are welcome to Participate. If parents come Please fill this Visitor Heath Screening & Attestation Form

5/19: It's clear, sunny and cold outside - time for solar lab!

Good Morning all!

As you might have noticed, it's clear and Sunny outside, but a cold 48 F at 6:00 AM. Please make sure that you are warmly dressed for our solar labs. Please bring materials as noted below, especially a compass, ruler, eraser etc. Please bring your mobile device (tablets or phones) for installation of Sky Safari and other software.

Please also note that we would make a decision of observation days for this week later today. It's possible that we might go back to our previously scheduled Thursday and Friday night as weather forecasts are improving once again !!

5/18: Cascade Materials Reminder

Dear Telescope & Astronomy cascade students:

Rachana and I look forward to seeing all of you for the 1st day of our cascade tomorrow!

Please remember to bring your laptop, writing implements, eraser, notebook, a compass and ruler if you have it. Also useful will be an iPad, iPhone (or Android devices) for controlling the bush telescope. Please bring these if you have one, this way you can use your own device. We have a limited number of shared ones we can provide if you do not own one.

Please let me know if you have any questions. You may find other details on our website at

- Chandru & Rachana

5/17: Welcome to the Telescope & Astronomy Cascade!

Dear Telescope & Astronomy Cascade Students!

Rachana and I are excited to welcome you to the first session of our cascade! It is scheduled to start Monday, May 17th @8:30 AM TOMORROW! The first week classes will be held at the community room shown below.

Remote students can join at

We have been working hard on preparing an engaging 3-week experience introducing astronomy and combining that with looking through and imaging distant stars and galaxies through our Bush Telescope. In this cascade you will learn the basics of astronomy, how the moon, stars and planets move in the night sky; gather and analyze scientific data; and take mind-blowing pictures through the telescope! We will also study the history of astronomy and highlight the key scientific discoveries of women astronomers often not recognized for their achievements. Most of all, we will get to spend 2 nights per week (weather permitting) under the stars with our telescope looking at the moon, stars, globular clusters, imaging the very distant galaxies, and thereby traveling back in time!

We will be using this website for a significant portion of the course content. To navigate to the complete content this website, please click on the Menu (3-dashes) on the top-Left

We look forward to meeting all of you and starting our engaging 3-weeks together! See you tomorrow!

Chandru & Rachana

5/17: COVID Reminders

Please review COVID Reminders by clicking on the Orange Button at the Top of this page