Troop 17’s STEM Campout at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, WV November 8-9 was a huge success! Troop 17 and our Webelos guests thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on STEM program that included using a real radio telescope and earning the Astronomy merit badge (Boy Scouts) or the Astronomy belt loop (Webelos).
Teams of Scouts used the 40 foot radio telescope to measure the 1420.41 MHz radio emissions from hydrogen gas clouds located in the Milky Way galaxy. By measuring the Doppler shifts in these emissions, Scouts were able to use their data to calculate the speed of these hydrogen clouds relative to Earth.
Scouts also learned about constellations in the planetarium, toured the NRAO Green Bank facility, made star charts, and used astronomy simulation software to predict the position of several stars, planets, and other objects.
All Boy Scouts and some of our Webelos guests camped under the stars, and the NRAO dormitory was available to those Webelos who preferred to sleep indoors. This was a great weekend, and part of Troop 17’s emphasis on traditional Boy Scout outdoor activities and STEM.