The Origins and Future of the Thacher Astronomy Program

Doc V and Doc S Publish Papers in Scholarly Journal.
The past, present, and future of our Astronomy Program have been documented in journal articles by two current science teachers, Chris Vyhnal, PhD and Jon Swift, PhD. The teachers co-authored the articles for the Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education (RTSRE) Conference Proceedings. They presented the topics at the conference in the summer of 2017.

The peer-reviewed article, A Century of Astronomy at The Thacher School, describes the School’s “rich legacy of education and research in astronomy that dates back over a century.” In it, the science department chair, Dr. Vyhnal, and the director of the Thacher observatory, Dr. Swift, explain the relationships between The Thacher School and notable scientists: George Hale, director of the Mt. Wilson Observatory; Nobel prize winning physicist, Robert Millikan; and the leading observational cosmologist of the 20th century, Edwin Hubble. They also detail the School’s ties to other science programs at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Diego; and Thacher’s role in establishing the Summer Science Program (SSP) with support from Caltech, Pomona College, and the Hughes Aircraft Corporation.

The other article, The Astronomy Program at The Thacher School, focuses on our current astronomy curriculum. The acquisition of a robotic 0.7 meter telescope and charged coupled device (CCD) camera in 2017 has made the reintroduction of astronomy to the Thacher curriculum possible. The science department is leveraging these assets to couple education with pursuits of a higher purpose. See Thacher Students Present at the American Astronomical Society Conferencefor more information on one of these projects.

Both articles are available on the conference proceedings site, or you can download them from our site:


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