Jeff Peacock prepares telescope for line of viewers.Jeff Peacock, a volunteer with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, readies a telescope for eager viewers at Stargazing at UWindsor, Oct. 1 outside the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Stars align for evening of celestial viewing

It’s magical to see the night sky in high resolution, says physics student Jordyn Matthews. A co-president of the Physics Club, she volunteered Saturday for Stargazing at UWindsor, which invited the public to a campus parking lot to observe celestial objects with the help of local members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

“This type of hands-on opportunity reignites my love for physics,” Matthews said. “We saw people with different levels of knowledge, from kids that were eager to see the craters on the moon to hobbyists prepared with their own constellation maps. I could feel the excitement in the air while participants rushed back in line for more telescope views.”

Certainly, 12-year-old Olivia Lewis shared that excitement.

“That was fun,” she said after a turn looking through a high-powered telescope. “I never saw Jupiter before. Did you know Jupiter has moons?”

Steve Pellarin, astronomy instructor in the physics department and past president of the Windsor branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, says the turnout was encouraging.

“Our best count shows that we had over 160 people visit our telescopes and enjoy the views of Saturn’s rings and giant moon Titan, Jupiter’s swirling storm clouds and the Galilean moons, swarms of craters and mountains in the moon’s highlands region, and a variety of star clusters and planetary nebulae,” he said.

“Visitors were also excited to see a spectacularly bright pass of the International Space Station almost directly overhead during our event.”

Pellarin hopes the event’s success will help to jump-start efforts to form an Astronomy Club on campus, and asks those interested to watch for more details after Reading Week.

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