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Houston County Boasts Only Georgia Astronomy Program | Community Spirit

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Houston County Boasts Only Georgia Astronomy Program
Houston County Boasts Only Georgia Astronomy Program

 

The Houston County School System offers the only high school astronomy course taught in middle Georgia, with astronomy classes taught at Houston County High, Veterans High and Warner Robins High.  The program began at Houston County High School in 1999. 

That's according to a Houston County Board of Education news release.

Astronomy and Physical Science Teacher Joe Molyson has taught the class since 2004.  Currently 140 students are enrolled at Houston County High, and over 100 at Veterans and Warner Robins High.  Molyson said, “We are one of the largest, if not the largest, high school Astronomy Program in the Southeast.”

The course is one of several science tracks students must complete in the junior or senior year to graduate.  Theory is blended with extensive self-paced computer work and actual observations of astronomical objects. 

One astronomy student, Erika Leslie at Houston County High, was selected as a NASA Aerospace Scholar for 2011.  Erika spent a week working with NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Flight Center (JSC) in Houston this past summer. 

All of the trip expenses, including transportation, were funded by NASA.  The program is known as WISH (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - High School).  Erika competed with hundreds of other high school junior women for this honor and was one of only 40 selected from across the U.S.  Erika has lots of photos and is willing to do an interview to share about the experience. 

The Astronomy Club, which consists of students from all three high schools, observes monthly from one of the school campuses or at a dark sky location just south of Perry Agricenter.  The Club is a chapter of the Middle Georgia Astronomical Society which is based at the Robins Air Museum  and the Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences.  During the optional field observations students see the moons of Jupiter, the surface of the Moon, the rings of Saturn and a nebula around the new stars in the Belt of Orion among other objects.

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