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UIS’ popular Friday night Star Parties to resume

August 18, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – After a three-year hiatus, the University of Illinois at Springfield will once again offer its popular Star Parties beginning Friday, September 8, and continuing every Friday night through October 27, weather permitting. Star Parties are from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.

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Astronomy/Physics at UIS

This year, Professor of Astronomy/Physics Charles Schweighauser, who initiated the Star Parties and served as their host for 27 years, will be joined by John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics at UIS.

Schweighauser said the observatory's three telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects: "We will be looking at the Ring Nebula in Lyra, a star at the end of its lifetime, expanding into oblivion, as well as the globular star cluster in Hercules, which will put a million stars in the telescope at once." He added that participants will also be able to view several double stars and star clusters, and the moon, when visible.

New to the UIS faculty this fall, Martin comes to UIS from the University of Minnesota, where he spent three-years as a post doctoral research associate studying data from the Hubble Space Telescope. He holds the Ph.D. in astrophysics from Case Western Reserve University and an undergraduate degree in the same subject from the University of Virginia. At UIS he will teach courses in both astronomy and physics.

Star Parties are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, and groups are encouraged to attend. The entrance to the campus observatory is located outside Brookens Library on the southeast corner.

Questions about whether the weather is suitable for viewing should be directed to 217/206-7328 at 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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