Ohio Northern University is resuming its Star Parties, which provide opportunities to gaze at and learn more about the night sky.
Organized by physics professor Jason Pinkney, Ph.D., the five fall events will be free and open to the public. Each will focus on a theme or celestial happening. Telescopes will be available for sharing and occasionally a short talk will be given.
The first Star Party, “Neptune at its Closest,” will be held this Friday, Sept. 16, from 9-11 p.m. Drop by the ONU Observatory, located on the northeastern part of campus along Lincoln Avenue, near Wander Field (baseball diamond). Neptune will be at its closest to Earth, or in “opposition.” This is also when a planet looks its biggest and brightest in a telescope.
“Neptune is too faint to see with the unaided eye, but it appears as a blue dot through our telescope,” Pinkney explains. “Saturn will also be well placed for viewing because it recently passed opposition on Aug. 14. It is easier to see features of Saturn, like its moons and it’s amazing rings!” he points out.
This Friday’s forecast is calling for partly cloudy and warm weather. Any Star Party cancellations will be announced by 2:30 p.m. the Friday they are scheduled. The announcements will be posted at https://jpastro.net/astro/publicevents.html
Other fall Star Parties will include:
· Friday, Oct. 21: “Orionid Meteor Shower”
· Friday, Nov. 11: “Uranus at Opposition”
· Friday, Dec. 9: “Opposition of Mars”
For more ONU Observatory information, visit https://jpastro.net/astro/ONUObservatory.html