Friday, April 9, 2010

Sunday night Star Parties to be held for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois Springfield is holding several Star Parties for people with disabilities throughout the spring in the UIS observatory, located at the top of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities are free, but reservations are required.

The dates of the Star Parties, weather permitting this fall are Sunday, April 25, and Sunday, May 16. The events begin at 8 p.m. and will include a short presentation before the viewing. The featured objects for viewing will be the first-quarter moon and the planet Mars.

Sunday Star Parties are conducted by John Martin, UIS professor of astronomy and physics. The sessions use a unique telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope at UIS uses a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube to be able to accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. The telescope is the first one of its kind in the world.

For more information or to make a reservation for a Sunday Star Party event, contact Professor John Martin at 217/206-8342 or jmart5@uis.edu.

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