Astronomy Student Talks and Sky Watching on March 29

March 27, 2013

The Whitin Observatory at Wellesley College opens its doors to the public several times a year, inviting stargazers to join faculty and students in the recently renovated historic building with its 6-inch and 12-inch telescopes.

The Whitin Observatory is the home of the Wellesley College Astronomy Department and houses classrooms, astronomy laboratory facilities, the Astronomy Library, and faculty offices. Built in 1900, and enlarged in 1906, 1966, and 2010, it is considered an unusually fine facility for undergraduate training in astronomy. 

On Friday, March 29, Wellesley astronomy students will give talks starting at 8 p.m., accompanied by observing, if weather permits. The forecast from the National Weather Service three days out is “mostly cloudy.” Keep an eye on it, but know that the presentations and tour of the observatory will happen whether the weather is fair or foul.

Next Public Event

If you miss the March 26 event, or rain precludes a good viewing, try again on April 26!

On that Friday, astronomer and longtime editor of Sky & Telescope magazine Joshua Roth will give a talk, “An Invitation to Stargazing,” at 8 p.m. (accompanied by observing from 8-10 p.m., weather permitting)

Believe it or not, you can see many of the universe's wonders, from nearby Jupiter to distant galaxies, from your suburban backyard, using relatively inexpensive equipment. That is, if you know where to look! We'll begin the evening with an overview of the season's constellations and then move on to the planets, stars, and nebulas that populate our universe. We'll then look at choosing and using telescopes for backyard astronomy. Weather permitting, we'll observe Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and the glittering Pleiades, using Whitin Observatory's historic refractors as well as portable telescopes that probably cost less than your cellphone. Books and digital resources to help you further your exploration of the cosmos will be on display.

A lecturer at Emmanuel College and Lesley University, Joshua Roth is a Caltech-trained astronomer who teaches astronomy, stargazing, and physics courses to the public through the Massachusetts Audubon Society and several community-education programs in the Boston area.