Many of us “seasoned” citizens probably remember watching the grainy, washed out images of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder of the lunar module Eagle and becoming the first human being to set foot on the moon back in July of 1969. We kids back in those days had plenty of information from popular media promoting space science and Nasa’s moon program from Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. So much so that many of us wanted to become astronauts, a career choice that still inspires and fascinates kids today.
What has NASA been up to recently? You may have heard about the deep space probes they’ve sent out, becoming the first man-made objects to leave our solar system and reach interstellar space. During the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Physicist Molly Wakeling will bring us up to date on NASA’s latest efforts in exploring our final frontier.
Those of you who attended the introductory program we did during the rollout of our circulating Orion StarBlast 4.5″ telescope may remember Molly Wakeling. Molly led a basic stargazing program introducing the various functions of the telescope and shared some of her astrophotography.
I grew up in Spokane, Washington, and have been interested in astronomy as a science for as long as I can remember. I majored in physics at Washington State University, graduating cum laude. I got my first telescope as a gift in July 2015, and I took my friends out to John Bryan State Park the first night it was clear. When I turned the telescope to Saturn, my jaw dropped, and I called my friends over to come see! Then I decided that I had to figure out how to take a picture of Saturn. I figured out that I could attach my DSLR camera to the telescope with a special adapter, and then I figured out how to take long-exposure images on that scope. I joined the Miami Valley Astronomical Society in January 2016, and have grown my hobby since then through lots of practice, as well as generous donations of old gear from my family and friends! I am now Vice President of MVAS, and engage in numerous astronomy outreach activities all year long, including library telescope programs at the Greene County libraries.
In addition to astronomy, I am also a Girl Scout leader for a local high-school-aged troop, two of whom have earned their Gold Awards, and the third is on her way. I also led a troop of middle and high schoolers while I was in college. I have been a Girl Scout member for 20 years—since second grade! I will soon be leaving Ohio, however, to start my PhD in physics at University of California, Berkeley.
In the meantime, Jamestown Community Library and Greene County Public Library would like to thank Ms. Wakeling for all of her community service promoting local interest in astronomy, as well as for encouraging our young people through her educational efforts, promoting STEM, and in scouting and community outreach generally. While we will be losing a wonderful community resource, we wish Molly continued success as she leaves us to pursue her studies and career.
Molly is active on social media, and shares her interests in astronomy and astrophotography on Facebook and Astrobin. You can even find some of her images on products for sale in the AstronoMolly Zazzle store.
Don’t miss this chance to catch Molly’s presentation at the Jamestown library on July 24th at 6 p.m.