Thursday, August 27, 2015

UIS Friday Night Star Parties return in September

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume the Friday after Labor Day and run through the end of October. Those dates include: September 11, 18, 25 and October 2, 9, 16 and 23. Friday Night Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, at the UIS Observatory on the roof of Brookens Library.

In addition to the regular Friday Night Star Parties, there will also be one bonus Star Party this fall on Sunday, September 27 from 7 to 10 p.m. (weather permitting) in order to view the start of a total lunar eclipse.

Star Parties are hosted by John Martin, UIS associate professor of Astronomy/Physics. The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the planet Saturn; the Moon, when visible; the Ring Nebula; globular star clusters M13 and M15; and other double stars and star clusters.

A typical Star Party begins with a presentation as visitors ascend the stairs to the observatory, learning about galaxies, the sun and stars along the way. On the roof observation deck visitors are invited to view the skies through telescopes and ask questions. Participants are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish between 8-10 p.m.

Friday Night Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner of the building.

Star Parties may be canceled for cloudy weather. Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. Participants may also follow the UIS Observatory on Twitter (@UISObservatory) for updates.

For more information on Star Parties, email John Martin at jmart5@uis.edu or visit www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html.

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