View stars and constellations at 'Friday Nights, Celestial Nights' March 19

Crescent Moon Dance

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(March 11, 2010)--UTSA's faculty astronomers will host another installment in the popular event, "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights," at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 19 on the UTSA Main Campus. Although the event is during Spring Break, it is free and open to the public, and families are encouraged to attend. Attendees will enjoy a 1960s animated sci-fi show and stargazing with UTSA's telescopes.

The evening begins with a 7:30-8:15 p.m. showing of two episodes of "Fireball XL-5," a British science-fiction series popular with children in the 1960s. The series, which originally aired among Saturday morning cartoons, is appropriate for all ages. The movie will be shown in the Science Building Lecture Hall (2.01.12), which is wheelchair accessible.

Set in the 2060s, the show features the adventures of Supermarionation puppets that cruise around Space City stationed aboard Fireball XL-5, the most popular spaceship in a 30-ship fleet. Throughout the series, the puppets interact with alien civilizations and thwart the plans of evil villains seeking to wreak havoc in the depths of outer space.

At approximately 8:15 p.m., weather permitting, attendees can use UTSA's telescopes including a 15-inch telescope and several 8-inch Cassegrain telescopes. Night viewing will be from the Science Building fourth-floor patio, which is wheelchair accessible. If the sky is clear, constellations such as Orion, Canis Major and Ursa Major will be visible, along with the Orion Nebula, Mars, the Pleiades and a crescent moon.

UTSA's monthly "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" events began in 2009 as a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei using a telescope to observe the heavens. The series is sponsored by the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy.

For more information, contact Professor Eric Schlegel at 210-458-6425 or lecturer Mark Jurena at 210-458-4922.