The Night Sky
Lectures on our Place in the Universe and the Constellations of the Seasons
What: The three seasonal series (six classes each) are designed for everyone from total beginners to experienced amateur observers. Whether you want to learn the constellations or have a telescope and want to expand your knowledge of viewing objects, these classes have something for you.
The focus is on learning the night sky in a "geographic" sense...locating yourself in our solar system, our Milky Way and our local galaxy cluster neighborhoods!
A few constellations are introduced in each class—their myths, history and interesting stars. We also cover deep sky objects such as the beautiful nebulae and clusters that never cease to awe and amaze. Planets are presented when viewable and all are presented over the course of a year. One class in summer is devoted entirely to our Moon.
After each class (sky conditions permitting), we go outside to locate the constellations just presented. We then move to the Observatory's telescopes to view objects within the featured constellations, until or beyond 10:30 PM (11:30 PM daylight time).
Basic topics are repeated in each series so that concepts become familiar. Persons who take all three Night Sky series (18 classes in all) will learn the entire sky viewable from our northern latitude. (The winter sky is split between the Fall and Spring Series).
Handouts: Detailed informational handouts are provided at each class. These may serve as excellent reference materials for all types of observing. The handouts are compiled from a large number of sources, and the observatory strives to make certain that they are useful, accurate, and up-to-date.
Where: At The Robert Ferguson Observatory (map). Park in the gravel area near the horse corrals just outside the gate to the Group Camp/Observatory site. You do not need to pay the park day use fee to attend the class, however you must obtain a parking pass from us and take it back to your car before the class begins.
When: Presentations begin promptly at the times noted at left and last approximately 90 minutes. Please arrive about 30 minutes early on your first night to check in and obtain a parking pass.