WINCHESTER — Umpqua Community College became a gateway to the solar system Thursday when it hosted a solar system walk.

Nearly 500 people from throughout Douglas County came to explore the solar system and learn more about our galaxy.

Oakland High School students helped out at the Jupiter and Neptune stations to teach community members and grade school students about the solar system.

“I love it, because I love astronomy and I love being able to teach that to others,” Oakland junior Dakota Siebenthaler said. “One girl with the first group was just asking question after question after question and it was awesome. She just kept going.”

The curiosity for the solar system is something many of the volunteers from Umpqua Astronomers appreciated.

“I want them to get a sense of how big it is,” said UCC astronomy professor Paul Morgan.

Not only were the planets spaced at the correct distance, but the planets themselves were also made to scale to give people a clear understanding of the galaxy.

In addition to our solar system, students were also able to travel to the Kepler-90 planetary system through “wormholes” Kepler-90 has a similar make up as our solar system.

There will be another opportunity to participate in the solar walk during the STEAM Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the UCC campus in Winchester.

“We’re planning to offer even more activities this year that will be sure to entertain and expand the minds of children of all ages,” said Gwen Soderberg-Chase, director of Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub and Douglas County Partners for Student Success in a press release. “This annual event has evolved into a great resource for Douglas County residents interested in exposing more youth to STEAM education.”

Some of Saturday’s other activities include a drone competition, rocket building and launching, Lego League robotics and pipe organ building.

Admission is free, but registration at is encouraged.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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Education Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

(2) comments


As big as the solar system is manages itself quite well. Too bad the Umpqua Community College can't do the same.



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