Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall schedule announced for Friday Night Star Parties

The University of Illinois Springfield’s popular Friday Night Star Parties will resume this fall the first Friday after Labor Day and continue through the end of October. Those dates include: September 9, 16, 23, and 30 and October 7, 14, 21, and 28. Friday Night Star Parties are held from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, at the UIS observatory, located on the roof of Brookens Library. The events are hosted by John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics.

The observatory’s telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including the Moon, when visible; the Ring Nebula; globular cluster M13; the double-cluster in Perseus; and other double stars and star clusters.

A typical Star Party starts 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 various celestial objects through telescopes and ask questions. People are welcome to arrive and leave as they wish as long as the doors are open between 8 p.m. and 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 John Martin at 217/206-8342 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party. More information about Star Parties can be found online at

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