Thursday, March 22, 2012

UIS to host annual Friday Night Star Parties

If spring has sprung, the University of Illinois Springfield has also opened its telescope apertures on the heavens for those in Springfield with a hankering to look closer at the stars and planets.

The popular Friday Night Star Parties begins the last week in March and runs every Friday through April during clement weather. Host John Martin, assistant professor of astronomy/physics, says that during this season Jupiter and Venus are bright in the west around sunset and Mars and Saturn rise later in the evening in the east.

The entrance to the rooftop observatory is at the southeast corner of UIS Brookens Library. Guests receive a presentation as they ascend the four flights of stairs, followed by viewing of various celestial objects, when they may also ask questions.

Visitors are welcome to arrive and leave any time between 8 and 10 p.m. Cloudy weather may cancel a Star Party. Questions as to if the weather is suitable for star gazing should be made at 7 p.m. the evening of the party.

For those unable to climb stairs or a short five-foot ladder up to the main telescope dome, Sunday Night Star Parties are held for people with disabilities. More info is at

The Star Parties were featured in an March 22, 2012, article in the Illinois Times.

Read the article online