Skywatch: What’s Up in Tonight’s Sky?

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Wednesday, March 13 at 6:45 pm

Derry Public Library is offering a second opportunity to learn about the things visible in the night sky overhead for those who missed (or want to repeat!) the February 6 program.   On Wednesday, March 13 at 6:45 pm members of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society will give a brief opening talk and slide show about the night sky and what can be seen there tonight. (Weather permitting). The planets, bright stars and constellations visible with the naked eye will be part of the discussion, as well as a brief survey of the deep-sky wonders that one can see through the Library’s telescope, which is now available to sign out. (A waiting list has been started.)

After the slide show, everyone will move outside into MacGregor Park with telescopes to see what can be seen. This is a great opportunity to mix and mingle with New Hampshire astronomy buffs and discuss with them the wonders of astronomy.

Dress warmly! It’s likely to be cold out there! Remember that you will be standing for more than an hour, so wear sensible footwear. We will be a bit handicapped by the street lights, but don’t add to the glare with flashlights unless you cover them with red filtering material. Keep cell phones that have bright screens in your pockets. No flash photos. Don’t have children wear LED flashing shoes — full night vision takes 15 minutes or more to adapt, and LEDs can destroy whatever you have gained. Let’s work together to make sure everyone can see as much as possible.

If the sky is overcast, unfortunately, this program will be cancelled.

Registration is requested so we can estimate the number of telescopes needed, however last minute participants are also welcome.

The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, which (subsidized by a grant from the Friends of Derry Public Libraries) provided the telescope to the Library, is a wholly volunteer New Hampshire chartered non-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering public awareness of Astronomy. This is accomplished via public observing sessions, demonstrations, astronomical slide shows, discussions, and talks. NHAS provides these services on request and free of charge to any organization, including schools, libraries, clubs, etc. NHAS has selected the Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch Astronomical Telescope for the libraries, along with a zoom eye piece and supportive material. They have re-written the instruction manual and provide a laminated, spiral-bound 4 by 6 inch copy with each scope. The telescope is easy to use and is robust. There is nothing to assemble. It has a wooden base, not the usual spindly tripod legs. The telescope is of manageable size, but has a relatively large optical tube. This means that the Moon and deep sky objects will show far more detail than one could see with the common “beginners” telescopes. It also has a large field of view that allows the object to stay in the eyepiece longer. This is a quality instrument, reviewed by a number of astronomical publications and found quite worthy.

Anybody interested in astronomy, or who is curious about using a telescope, should find this program entertaining and instructive. Call the Library at 432-6140 for more information.



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