Posts Tagged 'Front Range Community College'

Keep Looking Up

by Toby J. Swaford, K-12 Education Coordinator

The week holds a plethora of sky gazing opportunities.

First off, Saturday, September 18th will debut the very first International Observe the Moon Night. The evening is an offshoot of many programs that exist to explore and study Earth’s closest neighbor, including the very successful Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which has been sending back detailed images of the lunar surface. The moon will be in its waxing gibbous phase on Saturday, moving from a quarter to a full moon by Thursday, the 23rd of September.

As the moon moves through its phases, there will be a few objects competing for your attention in the night sky. Monday evening, September 20th and Tuesday morning, September 21st, will see Jupiter at its closest proximity to Earth in over 40 years. This will make Jupiter the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Jupiter will be visible throughout the evening, appearing almost directly overhead at midnight. As you’re looking for Jupiter you may also be able to see Uranus just above the giant planet. Unlike Jupiter, which is visible to the unaided eye, you’ll need a good pair of binoculars or a telescope to make out the tiny blue green Uranus.

If staying up until midnight isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also the chance for some early morning observations over the next few days with Mercury appearing low in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise. The best days for viewing Mercury will be September 18, 19, & 20th. While Mercury will look like a pinkish colored light to the naked eye, a telescope may allow you to see the planet pass through a quick change of phases similar to those of our much slower moving moon.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own telescope, because on Friday, September 24th, The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center, along with the Astronomy Department of Front Range Community College, will host the Star Nights program at the Stargazer Observatory. The event runs from 8:00 to 10:00 PM on Friday evening and will include the StarLab Planetarium program, access to the telescope at the Stargazer Observatory, and other hands-on activities. The program is offered free to the public, although registration is required due to limited availability. To make a reservation, please contact Toby Swaford at 970-416-2705, extension 2.

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Stars in our eyes: International Astronomy Day celebration

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

Stargazer Observatory

This week we’re excited to be celebrating International Astronomy Day with some great programs. Friday night, you can join us at Front Range Community College’s Stargazer Observatory from 8-10 pm to enjoy the views through their 14-inch Celestron telescope. From this grown-up kid who used to mow lawns to save up money to buy her first telescope, I cannot recommend this highly enough! There’s nothing quite like communing with the cosmos through the eyepiece of a telescope. Friday night we’ll also be presenting a StarLab planetarium show at the observatory, and there will be hands-on space activities too. Space is limited (no pun intended), so if you’d like to join us, please register by calling 970-416-2705, ext. 1.

Saturday we have a full slate of International Astronomy Day activities at the Museum. StarLab planetarium shows will be presented at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm, where you can learn about the fascinating myths of the night sky’s constellations while viewing stars projected in a domed theater. Tickets are free with admission and available at the Museum’s front desk on the day of the shows. Members of the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society will also be on hand to display and talk about different types of homemade telescopes between 11 am and 2 pm. You’ll be able to look at our closest star, the sun, through a solar scope, weather permitting. Other hands-on activities will also be offered between 11 am and 2 pm throughout the Museum.


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