North Medford High School
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1900 North Keene Way Drive
Medford, OR 97504
Phone: (541) 842-3670
Fax: (541) 842-5206
Contact: Dan Smith, Principal
Hours: 7:30 am - 4:00 pm



North Medford High School

History : The Roll-off Roof Observatory was Constructed in 2010-2011 and the Open House Event occurred June 4th, 2011. The facility was built with funds from: The Medford Schools Foundation, The Carpenter Foundation, and Medford School District 549C Bond. The observatory permanently houses three Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes with  10", 11", and 12" mirrors. Currently the observatory has a Canon Rebel DSL Camera, a Starlight Express CCD Camera, a Web Cam, and a H Alpha Solar filter for student use.

Director: Robert Black - he can be reached at:   or  541-842-5308
Thanks to: Former Principal,Ron Beick, for seeing the project through to completion, Mark Winner for building the Observatory, and Dave Bloomsness for helping in the design, set-up, and maintenance of the observatory.

Purpose: The observatory serves two main purposes. The first purpose is to allow current astronomy students the opportunity to operate a telescope and view  astronomical targets in the night sky. Each student will be expected to attend two star parties each year, one in the Fall and another in the Spring. The second purpose is to conduct long term research to fulfill Senior Project requirements.

Student Observatory Directors: Each spring, students will be invited to fill out an application to become  Student Observatory Directors. Those chosen will be taught how to operate each computer driven telescope and they will choose a Senior Research Project. Student Observatory Directors will work closely with Mr.Black and assist him in evening star parties as well as schedule time to conduct research on cloud-less nights.

Student Directors 2014-2015:

Jack Freda, Sam Cooke, Jared Evans, Kane Schaeffer, Capt. Kirk, Levi Sinclair, Danielle Feagan,     Garret Ramsey, and Megan Duke​
  The link below details this year's entry in the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

SOFIA - Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-Red Astronomy.
In May of 2014 North Medford Astronomy teacher Robert Black flew on board NASA's Stratospheric observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with a team of educators. The educators observed SOFIA scientists studying star forming regions and a unique stellar merger during the flight. Follow along as they see infrared astronomy in action.
To learn more about Mr. Black's experience at NASA go to:

Learn more about the Sophia program go to:


Team America Rocketry Challenge 2015
Team Members: Garret Ramsey, Kane Schaeffer, Levi Sinclair, and Sam Cooke

Team America Rocketry Challenge 2014

Congratulations to Ryan Hogan, Matt Hoeper, and Kyle Campbell who placed 130th out of 770 rocket entries from across the nation.


Student Directors 2013-2014:

Cody Salerno, Liz Hamilton, Matt Hoeper, Mr. Black, Ryan Hogan, and Kyle Campbell. Not pictured is Jack Powers​.

Student Directors 2012-2013:

Ryan McKee, Della Delaney, Bri Owens, Daved Yun, SeQuoia Dubeau, John Walker, Brandon Schot

Student Directors 2011-2012:

Kaylee Saunders, Anamika Brouer, Robert Black, Garrick Gilbert, Michael Guevara, Zach Demaree, Dan Lion.

Senior Projects:
Jack Freda: Planetary Nebulae study. Jack located, viewed, and documented over 20 Planetary Nebulae. This picture is of the Ring Nebula ( M57 ) in the Constellation Lyra taken with a Canon Rebel DSLR. Six three minute exposures were stacked and processed. Planetary Nebulae are the final stage in the life of a low mass star like our sun. 

Sunrise and Lunar Eclipse over NMHS – Megan Duke
Megan photographed the Total Lunar Eclipse of Oct. 8th and stitched seven of the Moon images into the sky over North Medford High. The sunrise picture was taken by Jack James.

Megan Duke and Astronomer John Bunyan

Danielle Feagan - Solar Max image of the Sun. Danielle photographed the sun through an 11"Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope equipped with a solar filter and a DSLR camera. Exposure was 1/250th of a second.  Danielle calculated the Wolf # of the sun based on the size and frequency of the sunspots.

Danielle Feagan - Solar Prominence taken with an H+ Alpha Filter.

TARC Rocket Launch - Sam Cooke, Levi Sinclair, and Garrett Ramsey


Della Delaney: Transit of Venus

Della viewed, photographed and timed the Transit of Venus from the NMHS Observatory on June, 5th 2012. She also made a film of the entire event as photographed from the Big Island of Hawaii by Astronomer John Bunyon. This rare astronomical event will not be seen again from Earth for 105 years. The timing of the contact of Venus against the sun is how astronomers first discovered the size of our solar system and the distance from the Earth to the Sun ( 1 astronomical unit or 150,000,000 km.)

Sequioa Dubeau: Solar maximum and sunspot rotation. 

Sequioa  stitched together 1,400 images of the sun from the Solar Max 2001-2004 to the next Solar Max of 2012 to the present. Sunspot activity crescendos every eleven years due to the sun reversing polarity and that manifesting into increased sunspot size and frequency. It is interesting to note how quiet the sun becomes during the years 2008-2009 ( Solar Minimum). The images from 2003 are distorted due the monster coronal mass ejection that crippled SOHO ( Solar Heliospheric Observatory) for a time. Astronomers are concerned with sunspots since they are the source of Coronal Mass Ejections. The radiation from Coronal Mass Ejections can harm astronauts, damage the satellite fleet, cause electrical blackouts and they are the trigger for the Aurora Borealis.  By the way, Galileo was wrong back in 1613. The sunspots do not race across the sun like black tornadoes, the sunspots are stationary and the sun rotates once every 28 days.

Ryan McKee


Ryan has spent his Senior year learning how to operate the A3P Spitz Planetarium Projection System. He has assisted  Mr. Black with  numerous elementary school programs.  In addition to the Northern Sky, He has studied the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere, which will culminate in a Planetarium Show for the public from 7:00 to 9:00pm on March 20th , 2013.

John Walker:

For my senior project I located Hat-P-36b (an exoplanet: a planet orbiting another star outside of our solar system). This proved to be a very challenging task with many problems taking me by surprise. In the end it all came together.  I tracked and photographed the star Hat-36b for 4 continuous hours and watched as the light emitted from the star decreased as the Hot Jupiter Planet orbited in front of the star. This star is located in the Constellation Canes Venatici which is two stars that represent the hunting dogs of Bootes ( the Bear Herder).
Brandon SchotSpectrograph of the star Procyon in the Constellation Canis Minor

Brandon conducted a spectrographic analysis of certain stars. Applied in mainly in astrophysics, spectroscopy is an extremely important tool that scientists use to study the light spectrum, which will help  determine the chemical properties of stars or substances.. Without the use of spectroscopy, astronomers wouldn’t be able to study the fascinating elements that make up our universe that we all live in. Overall the project was a humbling process and inspired me to possibly pursue a career in astronomy.


Daniel Lion:

Daniel Is taking pictures of Algol, the brightest star in the constellation Perseus.  Algol is the mythical head of Medusa and known as the demon star. What makes Algol special is that it is an eclipsing binary (variable)star whose brightness  changes every 3.5 days. Daniel is measuring the luminosity and the rate variability in this ancient star. Daniel has taken some good pictures of Algol and hopes to present his pictures and data to the Southern Oregon Astronomy Club.

Zach Demaree: 

Is taking pictures of Betelgeuse (The eighth brightest star in the night sky). Betelgeuse is a red supergiant that is in the constellation Orion and is in the  final stages of star death. In the final stages of star death a star goes supernova its nuclear fusion products are spewed into the universe to allow the provenance of other stars and planets. This  lends credence to the sobering realization that this is the fate of all super massive stars. Zach is measuring both Betelgeuse's magnitude and luminosity so that he can have a better understanding of stellar evolution.  


Kendra Straub:

 Kendra’s goal is to inform the community about the negative effects of light pollution. She has been volunteering at Wildlife Images to show that hazards of light pollution on animal population. In addition, she will have a premier for an independent film in the planetarium titled, The City Dark, that focuses on how to prevent light pollution and its adverse effects on society. Average Americans know of the dangers of “air pollutions” and “water pollutions”, but there is another danger called light pollution, and Kendra wants the community to become involved in the prevention of this pollution.


Michael Guevara: 

Michael Guevara is taking pictures of the lunar 100, which is simalar to the seven wonders of the world but they are located on the moon's surface. So far he has taken pictures of the moon during a full moon, waxing gibbous, and during the total lunar eclipse 12-10-11.  The moon has more to offer than what meets the eye.  

Partial Eclipse – Moon in Earth’s Umbra.

Partial Eclipse - Moon Nears Totality.

Last minutes before Totality.

The Moment of Totality.

Penumbral Eclipse.


Mr. Dave Bloomsness

Dave is a long time volunteer, right hand man, and integral part of the North Medford High School Astronomy Program. His expertise is appreciated by everyone involved with the program!

Download File
question and answer.pdf

  A Q&A with the observatory teacher Mr. Black.

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549C Medford School District  

Medford School District 549C Mission Statement
We are a high quality teaching and learning organization dedicated to preparing all students to graduate
with a sound educational foundation, ready to succeed in post-secondary education, and to be contributing community members.

Medford Public Schools 549C recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups and their roles in society and our community.
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