SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield's popular Star Parties will begin for the spring on Friday, 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.
The Star Parties will be hosted by John Martin, assistant professor of Astronomy/Physics, and Charles Schweighauser, professor of Astronomy/Physics.
Martin noted that the observatory's three telescopes will be used to view a number of celestial objects, including Saturn, the ringed planet; the Great Orion Nebula, a nearby cradle of new stars; Venus, the evening star and the third brightest object in the sky; and the moon, when visible.
Before coming to UIS, Martin spent three years as a post-doctoral research associate studying data from the Hubble Space Telescope at the University of Minnesota. He holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Case Western Reserve University.
Schweighauser initiated the Star Parties and has served as their host for 28 years.
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. All other questions about Star Parties can be directed to Martin at 206-8342.