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Observatory Spring Sessions Set

FEB. 13, 2008—The University of Wisconsin-River Falls physics department begins its spring season of free, public observatory viewings and pre-viewing discussions on the first clear night of March 2-5 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Centennial Science Hall located at the east end of campus.

The first stargazing session includes an introductory discussion by physics Professor Eileen Korenic, who will present “Measuring the Universe—The Story of Parallax” at 7:30 p.m. in Room 271, Centennial Science Hall. The discussion precedes the 8 p.m. viewing on the CSH third floor observation deck. During the viewing great attention will by paid to a visible Saturn along with the waxing crescent moon.

“The observatory sessions are a way to learn something new in a discussion and experience the information firsthand through a telescope,” said Korenic.  

All observatory viewings are scheduled on the first clear night only, Monday- Thursday. To check on the clarity of the sky, call 715-425-3560 or visit and click on “observatory” to verify that the sky is clear enough for the program.                

Viewers can expect to see a wide variety of rare sightings. “We have seen the rings of Saturn, Venus as a crescent and globular star clusters,” says Korenic.  

According to Korenic, attendance can range anywhere from 20 to 200 people, depending upon weather. A physics department faculty member, student or guest astronomer will staff each telescope and be available to answer any questions. Observers are encouraged to stay and look at as many elements as possible and feel free to request personal observing targets.

Observers are also welcome to bring a guest to the sessions, as the observatory is open to the public. Since the dome is unheated and the observing deck is outside, open to the elements, visitors are advised to dress appropriately for the weather.

Other viewings this semester will include:

“The Artist as Observer—Astronomy themes in Art” is the first clear night April 20-23, 9 p.m. Korenic will present the discussion and lead the observatory session immediately following. The two astronomical items that will be pointed out during the viewing session are Saturn and a waning crescent moon.

The UWRF Observatory houses a 16-inch Meade computer-controlled LX200GPS Schmidt- Cassegrain Telescope and two 12-inch Meade LX200 telescopes that are usually mounted on the observing deck during public stargazing sessions.  

For more information on the observatory contact Glenn Spiczak, observatory director, ( ) or on previewing discussions contact Korenic at ( ).


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