By TNCP Staff
The cosmos is always changing and delighting us. Amateur astronomer, Rod Bisher, has been instrumental in exposing everyday people the science of exploring of the universe. Even though the field of astronomy originated and evolved over millennia with the advancement in technology the field is ever evolving. With the need for humans to understand the history and science of the universe and to comprehend the causes of celestial events, there has been more interest in astronomy.
On October 26, 2015, pre dawn, the sky was gorgeous. The moon was almost full as Venus, Jupiter and Mars crossed paths in a pre-Halloween luminary display for last time until 2021. The three planets, all pursuing their ordinary orbits around the sun, was visible until around October 29. The best view was on the 26th before dawn and of course Bisher was watching this spectacle with his large telescope in his backyard.
People who are in love with astronomy seem to support others who are interested, Bisher said, “The telescope I have was given to me one summer by a lady from Indiana. She was visiting a camp I was involved in, helping to teach a high school group during a week.”
When Bisher was five, his mother took him outside one night and showed him the first satellite, Sputnik, put into space by the Russians. He said he did not really understand what the experience meant but it stayed with him. By age seven, he had developed more of an interest when he read his first book from the library, "The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree" by Louis Slobodkin. The story intrigued him and he began thinking about what might be out there in space.
Bisher remembered, “By the time I was nine, my teachers in my elementary school would stop class each time a new space launch was made and we'd get to watch it on television in our classrooms. I saw all of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches. Also, when I was nine, I was taking out the trash one night, and a meteorite came streaking across the sky above my house and lit up the whole area. I was hooked for good and I remember saying, 'That was awesome!'”
About 22 years ago, after obtaining his first telescope and after just getting my business underway, he still hadn't come up with a name for the business. Just a couple of days before he had to get the paperwork finalized, something unexpected happened.
While in his backyard with his telescope his big Old English Sheepdog, Booster, wanted to play. However, Bisher was more interested in looking through his telescope. The night was quite dark and he was trying to focus in on a star cluster that he had never seen before.
At the same time, Booster who loved playing with large sticks, was using one of those sticks to whack his legs to play with him. He grabbed the stick and threw it to him and in a few seconds, Booster was back again, thrashing his legs with the stick.
Bisher excitedly said, “This occurred several times, until a thought struck me, "Wait a second!...Dogs fetch sticks... I fetch stars and bring them to people....Dog ....Stars....StarDog... 'StarDogs Astronomy! We fetch the stars and bring them to you!' Thus, my dog is the reason for my business name.”
Speaking about astronomy made Bisher remember how looking into the night sky fired up his imagination.
With much excitement he said, “To dream, to wonder, and imagine exploring places far away out there! Later, I learned the spiritual aspect and the meaning of looking up and it forever changed my perspective. I also remember the Space Age and the excitement it gave kids and adults when Americans ventured into orbit and then to the moon. We live now in another age of space exploration and new astronauts, as well as new astronomers, will be needed to conduct that exploration.”
StarDogs Astronomy is a traveling planetarium that stays very busy. They make between 65-75 visits a year to educate students and adults alike. The planetarium program uses their portable StarLab inflatable planetarium,_and there are 25 different planetarium presentations from which clients can choose from. Our Amazing Universe is an assembly program in which Bisher uses a multiplicity of space themed props to teach all about early space exploration, current space missions, future space flight, the planets, stars, distances, space probes, and our solar system.
Some of the other planetarium programs include “The Planets”, “The Sky Tonight”, “Men, Myths, and Monsters of the Sky for a Particular Season”, “Moon Phases”, “The Seasons of the Year”, “Ancient Egyptian Skies”, “Native American Skies”, “Christmas Skies”, “Tracking Hurricanes” and some custom programs as well.
Bisher said that teaching others about astronomy is a lot of fun!
He added, “I have to say that the weeks I get to be a part of different camps has been the most rewarding as I get to spend an entire week with students and camp staff. We are able to share with one another and develop long lasting relationships.
Contact StarDogs Astronomy at firstname.lastname@example.org_ or call the office at 517-803-2349_. To see more log on to www.facebook.com/stardogs.info.
This article was printed in the November 15, 2015 - November 28, 2015 edition.