Thursday, February 14, 2013

Winfree Observatory continues Star Party series

Many will be hoping for clear skies this Saturday as the Winfree Observatory opens its doors for its monthly Star Party. The popular stargazing event is open to the Randolph community as well as the general public.

Star Party

Saturday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m.
Winfree Observatory is next to the Bell Hall parking lot above the Dell. See it here on our interactive campus map.
During each Star Party, Randolph students help visitors observe stars and planets through the Winfree Observatory telescope. Typically, two to three objects are viewed every time, said Hart Gillespie ’15, a Randolph College physics major who frequently assists with the star parties. Aspiring to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics, Gillespie said that working with the telescope helps him better understand how the equipment works and also what people enjoy looking at, which he thinks will help him in achieving his degree goal.

Even if your goals do not include an astrophysics degree, a Star Party is an eye opening experience. When the sky is too cloudy for stargazing, many people still enjoy the social aspect of the event.

Katrin Schenk, a Physics professor at Randolph, organizes the Star Parties with the help of students such as Gillespie. In addition, the Blue Ridge Astronomy Club also attends many of the events to help offer additional insight.

This Saturday’s Star Party begins at 7 p.m. Star Parties also  will be held on the following Saturdays:

March 23, 2013 - 8:30-10 p.m.
April 13, 2013 - 9-10:30 p.m.
May 11, 2013 - 9:30-11 p.m.

Refreshments are served and admission is free.