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February 26, 2013 > Heavenly views at Mattos

Heavenly views at Mattos

Submitted By Rich Newcomb

Despite unpromising weather conditions early in the week, Friday, February 8 turned out to be an excellent night for Mattos Elementary School's "star gazing" party. The overcast skies of the previous day had gone, and although the air was cold, the sky was clear and many of the school's families participated in the annual Astronomy Night.

The event kicked off at 6:30 p.m. with a presentation by Dr. Monika Kress of San Jose State University. Dr. Kress impressed the crowd in the multi-purpose room with her discussion of asteroids and "Searching for Meteorites in Antarctica!" As she described them, "Meteorites are free samples of outer-space that have fallen to Earth; they are samples of other worlds." Her interactive presentation and demonstration fascinated all ages, from preschool through adult.

After hearing about meteorites, everyone was now ready to go look for them with the telescopes. Ten telescopes ranging in size up to a pair of 18-inch reflector scopes afforded spectacular views of the Great Orion Nebula and other distant sights. Some of the sights were so popular that the lines for the telescopes were more than twenty people long. But, thanks to the guidance of the expert telescope operators, everyone was able to see many of the spectacular sights of the universe. As one parent said, "This event gets bigger and better every year!"

Mattos was fortunate to have members of the San Jose Astronomical Society in attendance with their huge telescopes and deep night-sky expertise. Mattos is also grateful to parents Keith Alday and Jason Powell, former Mattos parent Richard Hair, Vallejo Mill parent and previous Astronomy Night speaker Todd Rigg-Carriero, Glenmoor parent Michael Barajas, and friends of Mattos, Riley York and Robert Hoffman, all of whom who brought their telescopes and expertise.

When families were ready to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and some home-made snacks, they went to the bake sale for a little treat. The bake sale was in the Mattos multi-purpose room along with hands-on activities such as making moon phase models. Several Kennedy High School student volunteers helped with the hands-on activities.

Mattos Elementary School is the only school in the Fremont Unified School District with a Science Magnet Program, "Soaring into Science." Mattos has a dedicated science teacher, a science lab for grades 1 - 6 and has at least three science-related events per year for its students and families. To learn more about the school and its science program, visit: http://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/Domain/1173

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