WASHINGTON, CT -- This week in “Great State of Minds”, we take you to a middle school in Washington, Connecticut, that has found a portal to the cosmos at their finger tips by way of the Lichfield hills.
The website, 'SLOOH', is the brain child of Washington resident Mike Paolucci.
“We had a dream and a vision that we wanted to share the night sky with people.”
Launched on Christmas day in 2003 SLOOH is an interactive website connected to telescopes located in the Canary Islands and the mountains of Chile. The middle school students at Washington Montessori are using the website to take their Astronomy unit to new heights.
“The middle school mind, the adolescent brain, is ready to deal with a little bit of abstraction which makes space and astronomy a great thing to study. The challenge is it's hard to take a field trip” says Kerry Dorton, assistant head of education at the school, "Slooh has bridged the gap for us. What it allows kids to do is not open a book and look at the sun, but open up a computer and look through a telescope at the sun right now or as the sun was eight minutes ago because thats how long it takes light to get here.”
The students don't have to be passive observers either, SLOOH members can actually assign missions for telescopes.
Paolucci hopes by bringing the vastness of space within reach, people learn to look past the little spot they occupy on this small blue rock.
“Holy Cow! I’m looking at a galaxy that looks an awful lot like the Milky Way 37 million light years away! That really changes their perspective where they sit in the world, and I think helps them dream big about all that might be.”