Call for Student Experiments – High Altitude Balloon Project

Science Heads Inc. is pleased to announce the planned launch of a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) that will carry aloft experiments designed by local Middle and High School students.  The HAB is expected to reach an altitude of approximately 100,000 feet during its three hour mission.  At this altitude, experiments will be exposed to near vacuum conditions, temperatures around -50 deg F, and high levels of UV radiation, which is very similar to the conditions at the surface of Mars.

Students, either individually or in groups, are invited to submit experiment proposals to be included in the HAB payload.  Submissions will be evaluated based upon several factors including design of the experiment, supporting documentation and application of a scientific method.

The goal for this project is to inspire and educate. The exercise of designing, building, launching and evaluating the results of  an experiment will be a memorable learning experience.

Click to download an Experiment Submission Packet.

Experiment Applications are due by March 9th 2018.  Up to 5 payload experiment slots will be awarded to groups that submit proposals. The announcement of the winning submissions will be posted to this website on March 16th 2018.

The HAB launch is tentatively planned for Saturday, April 21st, 2018.  Weather, FAA clearance and other factors may require re-scheduling of the launch.  The launch itself will be open to the public.  It will a very exciting event – one that will demonstrate how much fun science can be!

We look forward to your participation in this exciting project.

Please fee free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Richard Stember
Executive Director
Science Heads Inc.

Volunteer Organizational Meeting January 20th!

Science Heads needs volunteers for its 2018 program!  We need your help supporting STEM education in our local schools and raising science literacy in our community.

This is a great opportunity to have fun and make a real difference.  We invite you to attend our Volunteer Organizational Meeting.

When: January 20th,  10 am – 12 Noon

WhereLake Forest Sports Park Recreation Center, Room 1
(28000 Rancho Parkway, Lake Forest)

Below are just a few of the ways that you can get involved.  Even if you can spare just 2 hours once a month we would love to see you at this meeting.

Science Heads 2018 Program

  • Science Outreach Events
  • Mobile Observatory
  • High Altitude Balloon / Student Experiment Launch
  • Web Site / Social Media Development
  • Fund Raising
  • Newsletter
  • Public Relations

Please click to RSVP via email and take the opportunity to learn how you can inspire and educate.

Best wishes for the New Year!

Richard Stember
Executive Director
Science Heads Inc.
Volunteer NASA Solar System Ambassador

Astronomy Night at the Lake Forest Sports Park

The City of Lake Forest held an Astronomy Night at the Sports Park, and Science Heads was there!

We brought a bunch of new astronomy-related science stations, including Eclipse on the Wall (see how eclipses happen), Twinkle Stars (why do stars twinkle?), Sunset in a Glass Dish (why does the sky turn red at sunset?), Pie Plate Solar System (can you make the Earth orbit the Sun?), and a revised Constellation Identification station (how many do you know?). Plus there were several favorites, like Glow in the House (everyday materials that glow under “black”light) and Relative Sun Size (Sun and planet sizes to scale).

Of course, we also had the mobile observatory and plenty of telescopes. None of the more familiar planets were up for the night (Saturn had set just after the Sun), but Richard was able to treat participants to view of Uranus as a ghostly blue dot in space. Our other telescopes were pointed at individual stars like Capella and Sirius, or star clusters like the Pleiades. Meanwhile, Brad showed off our outdoor display setup with Eyes on the Solar System.

We had a great turnout, and a lot of fun. We hope that the City of Lake Forest will continue these events.

Science Heads Are Spooky at Montevideo Elementary

Our Spooky Science program continues, this time at Montevideo Elementary School.

A great crowd turned out to see this event, our first time at Montevideo. The sky was cloudy, so we concentrated on the Mobile Observatory software, and all of our new spooky science stations.

The glowing stations outside were a big hit as always, and inside, the screaming cups and screaming balloons, spider sense webs, optical illusions, take-home experiments, and solar system size display were very popular. In the front of the school, our big, hands-on lever station got a lot of use, with students able to lift 70 pounds with one hand.

Thank you to our great volunteers for making this an amazing night out!

Linda Vista Elementary Spooky Science at Trunk-or-Treat

Sorry, no pictures for this event, but we had a great time as always! Russ from OC Astronomers brought his massive 20-inch diameter telescope, and we had the Mobile Observatory running live video from the ISS, with Eyes on the Solar System outside.

In the quad area we had a full Spooky Science event, with over 20 stations, including objects that glow under “black” (UV-A) light, spider-sense webs, plasma sphere, take-home experiments, mathematical arts and crafts, and many more.

Science Heads at the City of Irvine Spooktacular Fun Days

Wow! The Spooktacular Fun Days event over the weekend was a great one! We had hundreds of people of all ages come through our Mobile Observatory, and hundreds more stop by to tour the Solar System and pick up stickers.

Our voices were rough for a few days afterward, but it was absolutely worthwhile, and we’ll be back next year, for sure! Come see us then, or if you can’t wait, check out our Calendar for upcoming public events.

Debut of Spooky Science Program at Lake Forest Elementary

The fall season of Science Heads is under way with an event at Lake Forest Elementary School! We premiered our Spooky Science program, featuring our mobile observatory (MOBS), plasma sphere, exhibit of household materials that glow under UV-A (“black”) light, “blood” tub, optical illusions, spider-sense webs, and over twenty other great stations!

We were able to see Saturn through our telescope, and had quite a line of people taking a look. The MOBS also had live video from the International Space Station, and an outside display of NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System software.

We are just getting started on our Fall events. Stay tuned for more reports!

A big thank you to our volunteers who made this an outstanding event!

Science Heads Observes the Eclipse from Idaho Falls and John Day

Members of Science Heads traveled to John Day, Oregon and Idaho Falls, Idaho to observe the total solar eclipse. It was the first total solar eclipse that most of us had the opportunity to experience, and was definitely worth the time and travel needed to see this amazing natural phenomenon.

Executive Director, Richard Stember took the Mobile Observatory on the long journey to the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls to broadcast the eclipse live on NASA TV. He was interviewed twice by the Fox channel out of Salt Lake City, UT.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) produced a video featuring our mobile observatory, which was seen during the eclipse coverage on NASA TV. Unfortunately only half of it was played during the live eclipse coverage because of a technical problem.

Meanwhile, Michal Peri organized an expedition attended by thirty people, including two other board members, James and Rebecca Hammond, to the town of John Day, Oregon. James was able to capture some images of the eclipse, which you can see at the end of the photo gallery, below.

All of us had an incredible time, and are making plans to seeing totality again! Get ready, everyone, because the next American total solar eclipse is April 8, 2024. (And if you just can’t wait, there are two in South America in 2019 and 2020.)

August 21st Science Heads Total Solar Eclipse TV Coverage

Not traveling to the path of totality?  You can watch the whole event on NASA TV.  Science Heads is helping NASA broadcast the eclipse live from Idaho Falls, Idaho.  Richard Stember will be manning our Mobile Observatory on location at the Museum of Idaho. NASA TV will be streaming live video from our observatory’s telescopes.  The coverage will include interviews and information about Science Heads and the eclipse.

Many cable and satellite services include the NASA TV channel in their lineup.  You can also watch the live stream from the official NASA eclipse website.

With safe solar eclipse glasses you will be able to see a partial eclipse from Southern California.  But for an idea of what a total solar eclipse is like – be sure to tune in to the live NASA TV coverage starting at 9:00 am PDT.  Idaho Falls coverage starts at 10:15 am PDT.

Locally the eclipse will begin at 9:05 am PDT.  Maximum is at 10:21 am and the eclipse ends at 11:44 am PDT.