October 6 Family Astronomy Night to focus on deep sky objects

Did you know that there are many objects that you can see in the night sky that are not stars or planets? Did you know that many clusters or clouds of glowing deep space gas can be seen with the naked eye, and dozens more are visible with simple binoculars? Have you heard that some deep sky objects are so large and so bright that we can see them even if they are thousands of light years away, up to half the galaxy? And that there are even other galaxies that we can see with the naked eye? And what are the planets and constellations doing in our skies in October?

MSU St. Andrews’ next Virtual Family Astronomy Evening will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6. This free event will explore the topic “Deep Sky Objects: Wonders of the Night”. Those interested in participating must register to receive the Zoom connection at https://msu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9PCuUNGeQnmp6M1Lt_F4RQ People can register until the start of the presentation time or even during the meeting to join.

Staff will describe some of the basic types of deep sky objects: open clusters, globular clusters, emitting nebulae, planetary nebulae, and galaxies. They will also describe how each of them is formed, how they create the light we see, and how long they typically last. The presenters will also show how to find some in the sky.

No presentation on the beauties of the deep sky is complete without mentioning light pollution. The topic will therefore be addressed while the presenters show how it affects our ability to see such wonderful objects.

The recent launch of Landsat 9 prompts us to celebrate the Landsat program, its long and rich history, and how it has helped scientists, governments and businesses around the world for almost 50 years – and all for free!

As always, the presenters will show how to find the planets and other interesting things that are in the sky this month and early November. Did you know that right now it’s probably the easiest chance to find Capricorn for many years to come? Have you noticed the Summer Triangle high in the sky? Have you learned to use it to find other seasonal stars and constellations, such as Cygnus the Swan, Sagitta the Spire, and Delphinus the Dolphin? Can you recognize the brilliant “W” of Cassiopeia the queen? Did you know that Pegasus, which now rises in the east, can be used as a pointer to help you find many other constellations? Additionally, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are all visible, and Mercury makes a beautiful (but brief) appearance before dawn. The staff will help customers find all of these things on their own.

About Hannah Schaeffer

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