How many times have you stared at the sky as it was illuminated by the moon and stars? Saturday you’ll be able to get a new look at this familiar sight.
The Skywatchers Club from NASA Langley will set up telescopes in New Quarter Park to help the public get up close and personal with celestial objects.
“The moon will be very prominent that night, Mars will be visible, there are star clusters that people can take a look at,” said Paul Tartabini, president of the Skywatchers Club.
Up to 10 club members will be in the park that night with their telescopes.
“The main reason we do it is to share our love of astronomy and the sky with the public,” Tartabini said. “Especially to help young people who have an interest in science or astronomy, they love to pass things onto them.”
Tartabini said outreach events like this help get children more into science by making it more tangible. Tartabini actually got into astronomy when he was 12 after he got a telescope for his birthday.
“I think when you start to actually see things with your own eyes it starts to become real to you and more exciting,” Tartabini said.
The club goes to New Quarter Park about four times a year. Tartabini said it has also started doing some sessions at Upper County Park.
“Later in the year, it will actually be a good time for viewing Jupiter and Saturn so we’re actually kind of excited in the fall we think people will enjoy seeing both of those planets on the same night,” Tartabini said.
“We’ll be out here several more times this year and there’s always something to see when we’re out there.”
Want to go?
The club will be set up from 9-11 p.m. May 11, New Quarter Park, 1000 Lakeshead Dr. Free.
“It doesn’t look fantastic this Saturday for the weather forecast, but we usually don’t make our decision as late as we can — maybe early afternoon Saturday,” Tartabini.
To find out whether the event has been canceled for weather call 890-3501 ext. 35.
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.