Austin College Adams Observatory opens its doors to the community for a Star Party on February 22, 2018 where visitors can explore the universe through the largest research grade telescope in North Texas. The come-and-go, free event begins at 8:15 p.m. and runs until 9:45 p.m. Advance registration is requested. Should weather conditions require a cancellation, the announcement will be posted on the Austin College website, and registrants will be notified by email on the day of the event.
Dr. David Whelan, assistant professor of physics says, “At the Star Party, we get to share our enthusiasm, and our telescopes, with the community. Come join us to experience the vastness of space. There is no better way to appreciate our place in the universe than by sharing it with other space enthusiasts.”
With the Adams Observatory telescope, guests will be able to see celestial objects that are normally invisible to the naked eye. The evening will feature the moon and the beautiful Orion Nebula, along with other delights of the sky.
The IDEA Center is located at 1108 E. Richards Street, and parking is available nearby. Visitors meet outside the main entrance of the IDEA Center, and guests will be taken to the Observatory in small groups on a first-come, first-served basis. More telescopes will be available on the roof and lawn, and light refreshments will be available. Students and faculty will be on hand to assist and provide details about the night’s featured objects.
Dr. David Baker, Physics Department chair and director of Adams Observatory, says, “We are fortunate to have one of the top college observatories in the country at Austin College. Our students have conducted exciting research on massive hot stars and searched for planets orbiting other star systems. But for this Star Party, we will replace the scientific camera with an eyepiece so that visitors can explore the universe with their own eyes.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.