‘How do we know?’: Astronomy series continues at Whiting

Telescope and Milky Way

The Southern Vermont Astronomy Group continues its astronomy mini-series at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 7 at the Whiting Library, 117 Main St. in Chester.

Rick Hunter will present a talk titled “How Do We Know What We Know?” He will begin to answer the question “How can we really start to know anything about what, at first glance, appear to be only some very small, quite faint (few exceptions: planets, moon and sun) dots in the night sky?”

In the early 1800s, German physicist Joseph von Fraunhofer had already laid the groundwork of spectroscopy and had built some of the best refracting telescopes. In 1838, German astromomer Friedrich Bessel was able to determine the first accurate distance to a nearby star.

The work of these two began the process of classifying stars, as well as determining their distances, brightnesses, sizes and makeup. It is another one of those famous “detective stories” in science, with a fascinating cast of characters. Distance is the “perpetrator,” and scientists are the sleuths.

The final talk in the series, held at 6 p.m. on Friday:

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 for library members to check out and use.

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