Astronomy series begins March 24 at Whiting Library

Winter night sky photograph courtesy NASA.

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 24, the Southern Vermont Astronomy Group will be hosting a mini-series on four consecutive Friday evenings at the Whiting Library, 117 Main St. in Chester.

SoVerA members Rick Bates, Rick Hunter and Claudio Véliz will be providing a little of the intrigue that astronomy inspires, while imparting some of the knowledge that can help us to appreciate some of its mysterious aspects. If the skies cooperate after the presentation, binoculars and telescopes will be set up for the audience to observe some of the celestial wonders that our Vermont skies provide.

The first seminar is Astronomy Basics, in which Véliz will present one of the most popular course segments that he teaches at Keene State College. This includes an informal, “back to basics” review of what we now understand about the universe, the distances to different celestial objects and how astronomers collect information from “out there.” Images from the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes will be shown and discussed.

All events will be held at 6 p.m. on Fridays:

  • March 31 – Archeoastronomy
    Rick Bates will  present an overview of information that the ancients learned about the skies, and how this information was used in navigation. Also discussed will be a variety of ancient legends, myths and beliefs about the sun, the moon, the planets and the constellations, which were a normal part of the night sky in earlier centuries.
  • April 7 – How Do We Know What We Know?
    Rick Hunter will begin to answer the question: “How can we really start to know anything about what at first glance appears as only some very small, quite faint dots in the night sky?”
  • April 14 – Telescope Basics + Using the Whiting Telescope
    SoVerA members will review basic optics, how to choose a telescope, and how to enjoy the Whiting telescope, which is available to Library members to check out and use. This will be a hands-on demonstration.
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