SPRINGFIELD -- This fall, the University of Illinois at Springfield will once again hold special Sunday Night Star Parties for people with disabilities. Three Sunday evening sessions are planned – September 23, October 21, and November 18 – weather permitting. All sessions will be held in the UIS observatory. The parties are free, but reservations are required.
Featured objects for viewing will be Jupiter, the largest planet, and the moon.
These Star Parties are conducted by Charles Schweighauser and John Martin, UIS professors of astronomy and physics. The Sunday Parties use a telescope specially designed to give people with disabilities access to the sky.
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 for a Sunday Night Star Party, or for more information, contact Schweighauser at 206-6721 no later than Friday, September 14.