At the end of last year, astronomers from San Jose Astronomical Society visited Peterson Middle School and set up a variety of massive telescopes to view stars, globular clusters, planets, and more for Tacos and Telescopes night.
“Tacos and Telescopes was a huge hit,” said 7th grade science teacher Ildiko Stennis. “We even saw a ‘fly-by’ of the International Space Station.”
Astronomers were on hand to answer questions about how to measure distance and temperature of very distant objects in our galaxy and beyond. One astronomer explained how the "red shift" shows that the universe is expanding, and it is expanding at a faster rate as you move farther out.
Jarrell Fedalizo, the advanced culinary teacher, led a team of professional Peterson student chefs as they prepared the evening’s food. They cooked and served three types of delicious tacos — chicken, carne asada, and vegetarian — as well as house-made horchata, Mexican hot chocolate, and churros.
The ever-popular taco dinner serves as a fundraiser for the fantastic culinary department at Peterson. Ildiko Stennis, who created and coordinated the Tacos and Telescopes event, set up 10 stations of fun space-related crafts and science experiments in the school's cafeteria. Students could make spectroscopes, create spectrum bracelets, land launch puff rockets, and more. Students received star stickers in their passport for each activity completed and a piece of candy as a prize for finishing the passport. This family-friendly event was enjoyed by children of all ages and parents, too.
Tacos and Telescopes will be back next year — you just have to wait for one more rotation of Earth around the sun.