From nebulae to globular clusters, the wonders of the night sky came alive recently for a few lucky Preuss students. The students, members of the AP astrophysics class, were invited to participate in a “star party” at the San Diego Astronomy Association’s (SDAA) remote Tierra Del Sol observation site in East San Diego County near the Mexican border. For many, it was their first glimpse of a truly starry night.
“I’ve never seen a sky like that before,” said senior Stephania Moreno. “It was really cool to be able to use the telescopes and have SDAA members explaining everything we were looking at. I’m looking forward to our spring star party.”
The star party was made possible thanks to the newly-established Terry Arnold Rising Stars program at Preuss. Funded by the late Terry Arnold – a successful entrepreneur and accomplished engineer and scientist with a passion for astrophysics – and his wife Susi Kniel, the program seeks to enhance the existing STEM curriculum at Preuss with an astrophysics/astronomy component. As part of the program, Preuss has established an afterschool Astronomy Club, an AP astrophysics class and schedules star parties with the SDAA throughout the year. Through the program, Preuss is also establishing a network of mentors and collaborators from UC San Diego and SDAA who work closely with students.