Stargazing on a January night at Yerkes
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Area grade school students take turns looking through one of the smaller, optical telescopes at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay. File photo.
WILLIAMS BAY--The evening sky slowly changes from month to month. Throughout the year, Yerkes Observatory offers several evening observing sessions. In January, these will be held on some Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, but only if weather permits. Participants will have the opportunity to admire the night sky seen with the unaided eye as well as observe through a large 24-inch diameter reflector.
This month’s observing dates include January 10, 12, 15, 24, 26, 29, and 31, from 6-7:30 p.m. If you wish to attend, you must make an advanced reservation. Call Richard Dreiser at (262) 245-5555, ext. 880, or send email to: email@example.com. Each session is limited to 10 adults and children, ages 12 and older.
Participants begin outside with a brief introduction to the night sky as seen with the unaided eye. A pair of binoculars will enhance the stargazing experience. From the dark confines of Yerkes Observatory, one can get superb views of planets, constellations, hundreds of stars, occasional sporadic meteor streaks, the Milky Way, and, satellites such as the brilliant International Space Station.
Throughout January, brilliant Jupiter may be seen with the unaided eye, along with the Pleiades, the brightest star cluster in the sky. The bright constellation Orion rises in the east and remains visible all night long.
After observing outdoors for a few minutes, participants enter the building and climb 39 steps of a spiral staircase up into the northeast tower. There, through the 24-inch diameter reflector, one can observe brilliant Jupiter and its moons through the 24-inch diameter reflector, as well as several celestial objects invisible to the unaided eye.
Cost for the session is $25 per person, payable the night of the event via cash, checks, or VISA/Mastercard.
Participants should wear warm clothes as winter nights are chilly and they will spend time outside and within an unheated dome. Sensible shoes are encouraged--no high heels or flip-flops.
For information about regularly scheduled Saturday tours, weekday tours, and other events, go to: http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/