By Laurie Hindman
Berthoud High School science teacher Scott Kindt hopes his passion for astronomy will light a fire in his students as well. Kindt has been teaching science, including astronomy and physics, for eighteen years and has been at BHS for the last fourteen. Kindt is also the Educational Program Coordinator for the Little Thompson Observatory (LTO) and maintains the LTO website, www.starkids.org.
“Astronomy is a life long hobby,” said Kindt. In addition to teaching astronomy and studying the stars, Kindt is an “astrophotographer;” that is, he takes photographs of the cosmos through a telescope.
“There are three levels of astrophotography,” explained Kindt. “The first level is using a 35 millimeter film camera on a tripod and taking a longtime exposure of the night sky. The second level is when you piggyback your camera on top of the telescope. The most complicated stage is removing the eyepiece from the telescope, inserting the camera and tracking the sky for one to two hours.” Kindt teaches all three levels to his advanced astronomy class.
To capture the stunning nightscapes Kindt goes to the mountains—Wyoming, Utah, Arizona—anywhere to escape the light pollution that is created by even small-sized towns. Kindt said that in the past his students have had good results from photographing in places like Coyote Ridge Trail in Fort Collins. “It’s possible to get decent photographs without traveling too far,” stated Kindt.
Kindt said that having an actual observatory on the school grounds is a great asset to the students he teaches. “We are really fortunate to have access to an first class observatory and telescope.” Kindt emphasizes that the astronomy course is a magnet class and that students from throughout the district attend. His current class has students from Loveland High and Thompson Valley High.
“The kids are really enthusiastic about the astronomy lab,” said Kindt. “I like to make it hands on and get away from the grind of lectures and note taking. This class allows me to do that.”
Kindt grew up in California and earned a degree in chemistry and earth science at Miami University in Ohio. He moved to Colorado in 1994. He met his wife, Fabiola, while vacationing in Peru. Fabiola is a Spanish teacher in the Thompson School District and the couple has a one-year old son.
To learn more about astrophotography and view Kindt’s photographs, visit his Web site at www. celestialphotons.home.mindspring.com.