The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Star Parties will begin for the fall on Friday, September 11, and continue every Friday night through October 30, weather permitting. Star Parties are from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.
John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics at UIS, will host the Star Parties. The observatory’s three telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the giant planet Jupiter and its moons; the Ring Nebula in Lyrae, a star like the sun which has reached the end of its life; the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, which is a ball of one million stars roughly 13 billion years old; other star clusters and double stars; and the moon, when possible.
On October 2, a special Star Party will be held in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend at UIS that will occur regardless of the weather. If the weather is too cloudy for telescope observing, there will be a presentation at a location still to be determined.
The normal Friday night Star Party on October 23 will be part of the “Galilean Nights” celebration as part of the International Year of Astronomy. That night, UIS will be celebrating the achievements of Galileo and the 400th anniversary of him using his first telescope.
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.
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. For more information about UIS’ Star Parties, contact John Martin at 217/206-8342 or go online to www.uis.edu/astronomy/about/starparties.html.