Updated 11/25/12
Starting in 1996, Phelps Dodge Corporation, the National Academy of Science, Slipher Fund (administered by Space Telescope Science Institute provided seed funds to start astronomy programs for our schools in Grant County, NM.

Immediate programs included the Planetarium program (the STARLAB from the Alamogordo Space Museum). This was funded by Phelps Dodge and NFO Fund Raising.

These funding sources have dried up.

However, the new exciting news involves the second generation telescope at NFO. The consortium between Silver School, The University of Askansas, and the Arkansas School for math and Science has funded a new instrument that allows students and teachers to use a research grade telescope from their classrooms. It is operational, and several students have been able to pass a set of basic astromical science learning exercises and quizes, then use the Observatory to take their own images. We are hoping to get an IDEA Grant in early 2006 to fund high speed computers to help Silver Schools use this new tool.

We are also the area coordinator for Project Astro which will bring astronomers into the classroom.


Each of these projects can be done using simple equipment during or after school. We want to compile some of the results in these projects to produce publishable scientific papers. We will also be reporting results from schools, classes, and students on these pages.

1. Finding one's latitude using the sun. - by Amy Libby
2. Day-to-day variation from the mean solar day - David Beem
3. Why do we always see one side of the moon? - by Amy Libby
4. Measuring Light Pollution - by Amy Libby
5. Is the moon always the same height in the sky? - by Amy Libby
6. Ever noticed that the rising and setting moon seems much bigger. Try and measure it yourself.


The Sidewalk Solar System, a solar system scale model, is Swan Street in Silver City. It was installed in 2001 and has provided many classrooms with the opportunity to 'experience' the enormity of space. The Sun is 18 inches in diameter and and walking down the sidewalk 1.25 miles, one arrives at Pluto. All the planets (to the same scale) are displayed on bronze plaques imbedded in the sidewalk. Many useful facts are explained along the way to help in the experience.

The Middle and High School Electronic Scientific Journal

We want to start a peer reviewed scientific journal for Middle and High School students. We are interested in receiving input and volunteers to get this project off the ground. Since the papers will be peer reviewed, we need a cadre of students at each grade level, with teacher support. All submission and review will be done electronically, to speed publication time.

Other links with astronomical education projects: