Did you know that this is the last chance to see many of winter’s brightest deep-sky objects until next year? And that Mars and Uranus are rapidly slipping from our view as well? And, if the skies are clear, we will follow with an observing session. The Moon and Mars are visible in the early evening sky this month, both by eye and by telescope, and even Uranus is visible with binoculars. Plus, winter’s finest galaxies and nebulae are disappearing into the sunset. Come see them all from MSU St. Andrews, and take advantage of the earlier darkness that winter brings!
Families with school-age and older children are invited to an evening of astronomy and observing. We will begin with a short (< 1 hr) presentation entitled “Deep-Sky Objects That You Can See.” We will cover the many different kinds of deep-sky objects, where to look for them, and what equipment you will need, if any. Many can be seen with binoculars, and some with the unaided eye! We will also have a short discussion describing what else is in the sky this month, the telescopes we have, and some fun information on astronomy in general, featuring the New Horizons probe and its travels beyond Pluto.
If the skies cooperate, we will then begin our observing session, using MSU’s excellent collection of telescopes. If you’ve never seen the Moon through a telescope, this will be a special treat. The Moon will be pretty much full during Astronomy and Telescope Night. At this phase, the lunar “seas” and the “Ocean of Storms” will be visible, and the great western crater-ray systems will be in view.
Mars, in the southwest, is coming off of its best opposition in over a decade, and is still in a good position for viewing. Mars is much brighter than most stars and can be seen with the unaided eye. The great Andromeda Galaxy, the great Orion Nebula, and the distant planet Uranus are all heading into the evening twilight, so this will be their last evening appearance until next year. (For Uranus and the deep-sky objects, bring binoculars.)
There are always other options to see on Astronomy and Telescope Night. Many stars and constellations will be visible from our St. Andrews site. We can help you learn to identify the brighter stars by name, as well as the brighter constellations. It all depends on what interests our attendees the most!
Date: Wednesday, March 20, indoor presentation 7:30 – 8:15 PM; outdoor observing until 9:30 PM. In case of clouds or bad weather, come anyway! We will still be offering the presentation on deep sky objects, what’s in the sky this month, and the New Horizons probe. Plus, we will answer any general astronomy questions you bring.
Michigan State University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age or familial status. Please inform us if you need any accommodation for accessibility at (517) 432-4499.