STEPHENVILLE - Tarleton State University’s Program for Astronomy Education and Research will hold its annual fall Star Party, Friday, Nov. 22, at the Hunewell Ranch observatory. The event is free and open to the public.
Visitors will have the opportunity to gaze at stars and deep space objects, as well as several planets, through Tarleton’s 32-inch reflecting research telescope and several smaller telescopes, which will be made available beginning at 5:30 p.m.?“At our last Star Party, we took the CCD camera off the scope and put the eyepiece on, so folks can look directly at the celestial objects. That was so popular that we’re doing it again,” said Larry Barr, manager of the university’s planetarium. “We’re just hoping that Mother Nature is good to us and gives us clear skies that night.”
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes, set up on one of two concrete pads, and share the view with others, he added.
Tours of the Tarleton observatory and 32-inch Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope will be offered throughout the evening, said Barr, allowing visitors to see how professional astronomy is conducted and how the equipment operates. The telescope was designed and fabricated by Astronomical Consultants & Equipment of Tucson, Ariz., and features a computer controlled, high resolution CCD imaging system to ensure accurate image capture for either research or projection.
Stargazing will continue until 10:30 p.m. Visitors are asked to turn off their headlights as they approach the observatory, said Barr. Free coffee and hot cocoa will be provided.
Up-to-date information regarding the star party, including a possible cancellation due to weather, can be obtained by calling (254) 968-0522 one day prior to the event.
For a map to Hunewell Ranch and more information regarding Tarleton’s observatory, visit http://www.tarleton.edu/observatory .