Friday, October 17, 2008

UIS to host Sunday Star Party for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a special Sunday Night Star Party for people with disabilities on Sunday, November 9, weather permitting, in the UIS observatory. The party is free, but reservations are required.

Featured objects for viewing will be Jupiter, the largest planet, and the moon.

Conducted by Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of astronomy and physics, Sunday Star Parties use a telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky. This is the first telescope in the world designed for, and dedicated to, people with disabilities.

The modified eight-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope employs a traditional optical design but with a fixed eyepiece that brings the image to the viewer. This eyepiece can be moved backward and forward in its tube as much as seven inches without refocusing, and can accommodate anyone from a large person in a high wheelchair to a child in the lowest, smallest wheelchair. A laptop computer runs the telescope, eliminating the need for a large keyboard and monitor that can emit too much distracting light on the dark observation deck.

To make a reservation, or for more information, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721 no later than Friday, October 31, for the November 9 Star Party.

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