Joan Chamberlin is a recently retired special education teacher and avid amateur astronomer. She has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader, wife, and mother of two children.
Joan's love of space science began in the 1960's, when President Kennedy gave his famous speech that rocketed the US into the Space Age. Toward the end of her Peace Corps tour, she watched tv with Thais in Bangkok, as Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon. She was proud of the US accomplishment, but even prouder when she heard his words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." These words made the entire world a part of this momentous event and paved the way for international cooperation in space science. Who would have imagined in 1969 that Americans would one day go into space with the Russians?
Joan's adventure with astronomy began when she began star gazing with her children and her Girl Scout troop. After her daughter and son went off to college, she joined the Astronomical Society of Northern New England, where she learned how to use her 10 inch Dobsonian telescope to find objects in the night sky. She took astronomy courses at Southworth Planetarium and volunteered as a projectionist and for outreach events. She has organized Space Day for her school district for the past 3 years.
In 2004, Joan participated in the Consortium for Undergraduate Research and Education in Astronomy (CUREA) at Mt. Wilson Observatory. This experience, which included doing a research project using photometry, demonstrated for her how exciting doing real science can be. CUREA is number one on her list of most memorable and life-changing experiences.
Joan is a member of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England, Southern Maine Astronomers, and Greater Portland Astronomical Society. She is actively involved in outreach with all three clubs and with Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine. She is a local observing expert for the online Astronomy Lab course at the University of Maine, Orono. Joan enjoys writing, traveling, learning languages, and camping; but nothing excites her more than a great star party!