Paul conducts public and private amateur astronomy programs and star parties for children and adults in schools, camps, parks and other settings. Below are some of his slide (Power Point) programs which are geared to general audiences of all ages with limited astronomical background. (Some will also be of interest to the more sophisticated amateur astronomers.)
Paul presenting at 2007 Texas Star Party
"A Brief History of the Copernican Revolution"
This program presents the major players and their roles in the "paradigm shift" from the Ptolemaic Earth-centered view of the cosmos to Copernican's Sun-centered view.
"Constellations with a Little Imagination"
This program introduces star patterns we call constellations, how and why they came to be, and some of the better known patterns.
"Constellations of the Season"
This program focuses on the constellations prominent in the current season.
In 2001 concert pianist Dr. Michael Ard and amateur astronomer Dr. Paul Derrick combined their talents to present a concert in which Dr. Ard's piano performance of William Duckworth's "The Time Curve Preludes" was given a cosmic perspective by Dr. Derrick's accompanying astronomy slide presentation. In Dr. Ard's absence (he has now retired to Tucson), Dr. Derrick's revisited presentation, set to Don Robertson's synthesized recorded "Starmusic: Horizons Beyond Infinity," produces a visual-auditory-cerebral experience that takes one from the beginning to the end of time-space, and from the remote reaches of deep space to everyday life -- all in 15 minutes.
Based on the marvelous book Extraterrestrials: A Field Guide for Earthlings written by Terence Dickinson and illustrated by Adolf Schaller, this program presents speculations on what extraterrestrial life - if it exists - might be like.
"Journey to Outer Space"
Using the metaphor of an imaginary journey starting at planet Earth and traveling into deep outer space, this program presents a good introductory survey of "what's out there" - from solar system objects to stars, nebulae, clusters, galaxies, and yes, even black holes.
"Learning the Night Sky by Regions"
This program is an introduction to Paul's original system of learning the major stars and constellations by partitioning the night sky into nine regions and the story or theme which relates each of the region's constellations to one another.
"Life Cycle of a Star"
This program examines the life cycle of stars beginning with their formation in star-birthing nebulae through their main sequence and on to their end stages and death, including planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, supernovae, pulsars, and black holes.
This program presents an elementary introduction to the role of astronomy in the creation myths of the Mayas who lived hundreds of years ago in what is now southern Mexico and Guatemala.
"Meteors, Comets and Impacts"
This program introduces meteors, comets and the relationships between them, and the effects produced by their impacts with other objects, including Earth.
"Our Expanding Universe"
The Big Bang, the Copernican Revolution, other intelligent life in the universe, and the impact these things have on us and our species are among the topics are presented and opened for discussion.
"Seeing the Southern Sky"
Based on the Stargazer's 2001 and 2012 trips to New Zealand (and Tahiti), this program presents highlights of the night sky as seen from the southern hemisphere and the differences those of us from the northern hemisphere are accustomed to seeing - not just seeing new stars and constellations but also seeing familiar patterns from a different perspective - like an "up-side-down" Orion.
"Solar System Model"
Using familiar every-day objects (e.g., Earth as a tennis ball) and the Waco area, this program helps one visualize the relative sizes of solar system objects and the distances between them.
"Time: Cycles of Nature and Humans"
This program identifies the major measures of the passage of time we use in our everyday life, differentiates those which are human inventions, and examines more closely those based on cycles of nature.
Star parties can emphasize naked-eye green-laser-pointer sky tours (identifying major constellations and bright stars), or viewing solar system and deep-sky objects through Paul's telescope, or a combination of both -- depending upon your preferences and sky conditions.
Fee policy: Paul's fee for private astronomy programs and star parties is $100 in the Central Texas area (higher for out-of-area events requiring travel.) There is usually NO fee for schools and other non-profit groups/organizations.
LaVega students viewing 2006 transit of Mercury
LaVega class in 2008Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in 2007
Presenting at Centerville Elementary in 2009
Astronomy Family Weekend @ U-Bar-U Retreat Center - Feb. 2011
Paul Presenting & with Youngster Proudly Holding His Star Bear
Presenting at Half Moon Bay School in Oban on New Zealand's Stewart Island in 2012
Presenting at Tyler Elementary, Belton, TX, Jan. 2014
For booking, contact Paul at:
(254) 723-6346 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
** All events are free unless otherwise indicated **
Oct 15 / CTAS Meyer Observatory (program: sky tour)
May 14, 15 / CTAS Meyer Observatory (program: sky tours)
Sep 4-5 / UBarU Star Party (program: "Learning the Night Sky by Regions") [UBarU Retreat Center, near Kerrville, TX]
Oct 1-3 / Private sky tours [Terlinqua Ranch Lodge, Study Butte, TX]
Aug 11, 12 / Family outings to view Perseid meteor shower [mountains west of Denver (11), plains east of Denver (12)]
Aug 17 / Total solar eclipse with family [Prairie Oasis RV Park, Henderson, NE]
May 15 / 8:30 p.m. / Mason Public Star Party (program: "A Journey to Outer Space" and sky tour) [Mason Public Library, Mason, TX]
May 13 / 8:30 p.m. / Pedernales Falls State Park (sky tour at Obelisk Amphitheater) [Johnson City, TX]
May 2 / evening / China Spring school (assisted wih CTAS school star party) [China Spring, TX
Mar. 31 / 8:30 p.m. / Davis Mts. State Park (program: "Constellations of Early Spring" and sky tour) [Ft. Davis, TX]
Mar. 30 / 8:30 p.m. / Davis Mts. State Park (program: "A Journey to Outer Space" and sky tour) [Ft. Davis, TX]
Sep. 23 / Impromptu Family Star Party [Pipkin residence, Bedford, VA]
Jul. 23 / Star Party @ FUSD family campout [Pickle Gulch Campground, CO]
Oct. 9 / 2nd Private Star Party for FUSD Auction Donors (w/ Greg Wimpey) [near Rocky Mt. Arsenal NWR, Denver]
Sep. 11 / Private Star Party for FUSD Auction Donors (w/ Greg Wimpey) [near Rocky Mt. Arsenal NWR, Denver]
Jun. 29 / Private Star Party @ First Unitarian Society of Denver [Denver]
Jan. 30 / 3rd grade classes of Tyler Elem. School (program: Solar System Model) [Belton, TX]
Mar. 11 / Impromptu mini-star party for Audubon Birding Tour group [Pook's Hill Lodge, Belize, Central America]
May 5 / Star Party for Homeschool class [Private residence, Waco, TX]
May 20 / Central Texas Astronomical Society (program: Summary of My PowerPoint Programs [Lorena, TX]
May 31 / Star Party/Meyer Observatory Tour (for our neighbors) [Turner Research Station/Meyer Observatory, near Clifton, TX]
Jun. 30 / Star Party @ Davis-Derrick family campgout [Glacier Basin Campgnd, Rocky Mt. NP. Colorado]
Jul. 18 / Star Party @ FUSD family campout [Pickle Gulch Campground, Colorado]
Sep. 3 / Star Party for Denver Montessori School student campout [Pickle Gulch Campground, CO]
Mar. 1-3 - Fri. evening to Sun. noon / Astronomy Family Weekend (indoor/outdoor activities) [UBarU Retreat Center, Kerrville, TX]
[CLOUDED OUT] Mar. 19 / Tennyson Middle School star party (w/ Johnny Barton) [Waco]
Apr. 13 - 7:30 p.m. / Waco Wetlands Star Party (programs: Journey to Outer Space, Extraterrestrials) [Waco]
Apr. 27 - 8:15 p.m. / Pedernales Falls State Park Amphitheater (program: Learning the Night Sky by Regions, for park staff) [near Johnson City, TX]
May 6 / 9-10 p.m. / Texas Star Party (sky tour) [Ft. Davis, TX]
May 8 / 8:30 p.m. / Davis Mts. State Park Amphitheater (program: Constellations of the Season" and sky tour) [Ft. Davis, TX]
May 9 / 3 p.m. / Texas Star Party (afternoon program: "Revisiting the Land of the Upside-down Night Sky") [Ft. Davis, TX]
May 9 / 8:30 p.m. / Davis Mts. State Park Amphitheater (program: "A Journey to Outer Space" and telescope viewing) [Ft. Davis, TX]
[CLOUDED OUT] May 21 / McGregor Elementary star party [McGregor]
July 29 / Private star party [Glen Rose, TX]
[CANCELED DUE TO CONGRESSIONAL SEQUESTERED BUDGET CUTS] Aug. 10 - 8:30-10 p.m. / Reynolds Creek Park Amphitheater (program: "Constellations of the Season," sky tour, telescope viewing) [Waco]
Aug. 11 / UUFW Children's Program (constellations) [Waco]
Sep. 11 / Waco Montessori School (two class sessions: "Life Cycle of Stars")[Waco]
Sep. 23 / Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. Reg. 3 Management Round Up at Camp Bucker (star party)[Inks Lake, TX]
Sep. 28 / Waco Cultural Arts Fest - Science Fest Section (CTAS display booth) [Waco]
[CLOUDED OUT]Nov. 22 / 6:30 p.m. / Speegleville Elementary (star party with members of Central Texas Astronomical Society) [Speegleville]
Nov. 25 / McGregor Elementary (program: "Journey to Outer Space")[McGregor]