FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Date: March 5, 2001

                                                                        Contact: Lezli Austen

UIS observatory to host star parties

          SPRINGFIELD – University of Illinois at Springfield’s popular Friday night Star Parties will begin for the spring on March 23 and continue every Friday night through April 27, weather permitting. Star parties are from 8 to 10 p.m. in the UIS observatory.

Three telescopes will be used to view the following celestial objects: the Orion nebula, a birthplace of new stars; Sirius, the Dog Star and the brightest star in the nighttime sky; Saturn, the ringed planet; Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system; and the moon, when visible.

Star Parties, conducted by UIS professor of astronomy and physics Charles Schweighauser, are free and open to the public. No reservations are 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 the UIS information desk, 206-6600, after 7 p.m. on the evening of the Star Party.