U.S. President Barack Obama Stargazes with 150 Middle School Students

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama joined 150 middle school students for some stargazing from the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday night.

On a clear, crisp evening in the nation’s capital, 20 telescopes were set up on the White House lawn, along with two inflatable domes with images of the universe projected onto the ceilings.

“There are a lot of mysteries left and a lot of problems for you students to solve,” Obama told the students.

He noted that earlier in the day he had presented the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. He said his administration planned to “reinvigorate” science, math and technology education.

“Here is my question: Which one of you are going to come back here to claim your prize?” he said.

Several students raised their hands.

“What will your great discovery be?” the president said.

Obama then introduced a “few other stars out tonight” — astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison.

Students focused telescopes on the cosmos, and Obama did too, with the help of John Holdren, White House science adviser, who showed him how to use an 8-inch telescope that focused on a star in the constellation Lyra, some 160 light years away.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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