Saturday, June 2, 2012

LIGO Science Center

On May 22nd, our group, Bayou Cajun Homeschoolers, went to the LIGO Science Education Center for some hands-on science learning.  LIGO stands for  LIVINGSTON LASER INTERFEROMETER GRAVITATIONAL-WAVE OBSERVATORY.  It is an active observatory that the older children got to tour while we were there.


They had several work stations set up when you walked in the door for the kids to rotate through which taught different things and a exhibit hall with other hands-on science projects/instruments.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember what each station was called or taught due to helping my children and making sure our field trip was running smoothly.  However, you can go to Candi’s blog to see her post which has a lot more info and some really good pictures.

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My kids loved playing on the computers and watching the mirror tricks.  They made lots of funny faces, doubles, and it made Candi look like she had twins;)_5220017

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I loved this picture of Cade holding Isaac in his lap while he was at the computer station._5220033

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It looks like I’m touching a giant spring but it really isn’t there.  This was a bent mirror illusion._5220067

I really enjoyed watching the different children trying to make the large bubbles by pulling the rope.  The little ones kept popping them before it got really high.  It cracked me up.

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After about an hour and a half, we gathered in the auditorium for a video that talked about what they do at LIGO.  Then, we took a break for lunch.  They had a large covered picnic area for us to eat lunch before touring the observatory.

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After lunch, our group (They broke us up into 2 different groups.) went for a tour of the observatory.  Candi stayed back at the education center with our younger children while I took our older children. One of the scientist lead the tour.  She said she is the one they let talk to people because she can talk to groups more normal;)_5220092 She took us through the building where you could see boards along the wall with drawings and measurements of different things.  Then, we went into the actual observatory where there is always someone there 24/7.  We didn’t get to see as much since they were in the process of upgrading all of their equipment.  You can go to their website to learn more about what they do.  There is only two of these observatories in the United States.  One in our area and one in Washington state.

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Outside of the observatory they have two concrete arms that stretch 2 miles each.  This is where a lot of there testing takes place.  The 1st picture is a picture from a camera inside one of the arms.  The 2nd picture is a view of the arm from an outside camera.

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She told the kids some funny stories and answered any questions that they had.  Then, we headed back to the educational center._5220102 

Overall, I think everyone had a good time and learned some new things.  I got several comments from other families about how much they enjoyed it.

1 comment:

Cinnamon said...

I love how hands on that place is. Perfect for children to explore. How fun!