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Astronomy Club hosts an out of this world event with live music

By Katie Decker-Jacoby

Section: Arts

November 10, 2017

Astronomy Club held its first event of the school year this past Saturday, Nov. 4, on Chapel’s Field. “Stargazing and Live Music with Astronomy Club,” as it was named on the club’s Facebook event, featured live music from a student band called Congress of Babs, with band members Max Halpern ’20, Hena Germaine ’16 and Astronomy Club events co-coordinator Nic Neves ’20. Eli Trout ’20 and Jordan Mudd ’20 continued the musical entertainment after the Congress of Babs.

Event attendees could enjoy hot chocolate and blankets for their evening under the stars. Attendees could search for stars using the wide, standing telescopes provided by Astronomy Club, which were equipped with tracking systems. “If you set the telescope to focus on something, then it’ll follow that object. With a telescope that doesn’t have this feature, you would have to keep moving it yourself,” Physics major and Astronomy Club events co-coordinator Becca Rogers ’19 explained.

However, despite the live music, hot chocolate, blankets and high-tech telescopes, the sky was ultimately too cloudy for anyone to spot stars in the sky. The event was still a success, according to Rogers, who joined Astronomy Club in the spring of 2016.

Astronomy Club usually has meetings every Thursday. Some weeks the meetings are just for the club’s e-board, some weeks the meetings are for feedback and planning events and some weeks they have viewings.

At the viewings, club members will search for stars, but sometimes they plan to look out for a specific planet like Saturn and its rings. The general meetings take place in the lower part of the observatory area in Abelson and the viewings in the upper area where the telescope resides. However, one must be well trained in order to operate the telescope. President of Astronomy Club Liana Simpson ’18 has mastered operating the telescope and also offers training to those who would like to learn how to use it.

For those who are not familiar with astronomy, it is not to be mixed up with astrology. Astronomy is more science-based and explores topics such as black holes and dark matter. Astrology is more philosophical and spiritual, covering subjects like horoscopes.

In regards to the astrophysics scene on campus, the physics department offers a beginner’s course called Introductory Astronomy, which addresses topics like stars and galaxies. The Physics department also offers two other relevant courses: Astrophysics and Introduction to Astrophysics.

The club additionally covers astrophotography, which, as its name suggests, is the capturing or recording of objects in space, including stars, planets or other celestial occurrences.

In terms of upcoming Astronomy Club events this school year, the club is in the process of planning a potential visit to the Museum of Science in Boston, specifically looking at the Gilliland Observatory. Club members and interested newcomers are welcome and event goers definitely do not have to be physics majors to join the club or participate in its events. The best way to get involved in Astronomy Club is to join the club’s listserv to learn about the club’s next meeting or viewing.

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