UTSA's 'Friday Nights, Celestial Lights' is Friday, April 16

solar gazing

View of the sun through filtered telescope

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(April 13, 2010)--UTSA's astronomy faculty invites the community to the UTSA Main Campus on Friday, April 16 in the afternoon and evening to enjoy "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights." Both events are free and open to the public.

April's "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" event falls on the same day as Fiesta UTSA. To join in the fun, UTSA's astronomy faculty will set up university telescopes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a booth at Sombrilla Plaza, adjacent to Fiesta UTSA, to allow the public to view the daytime sky. Astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and assist with the telescopes.

There also will be an evening event April 16, starting with a 7:30 p.m. showing of an episode of the 1950s T.V. classic, "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger." The children's sci-fi series that debuted in 1954, followed the adventures of hero Rocky Jones as he battled evil. The series, which lasted two seasons, gave way to many popular special effects seen regularly in sci-fi shows today. The movie showing will be in the Science Building Lecture Hall (2.01.12), which is wheelchair accessible.

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 to view the night sky from the fourth floor patio of the Science Building, also wheelchair accessible. If the sky is clear, the Orion Nebula, the crescent moon and Saturn will be visible in the evening sky. Depending on the weather, Venus also may be visible.

UTSA's monthly "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" events began in 2009 as a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, which commemorated 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.

Reservations are not accepted for the astronomy events. To learn more, contact Professor Eric Schlegel at 210-458-6425 or Lecturer Mark Jurena at 210-458-4922.