Mt. Vernon Register-News

November 13, 2012

Astronomy night to be held at airport

By RORYE O’CONNOR
rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — The Mt. Vernon Department of Parks and Recreation will offer its annual chance to get a closer look at the stars Wednesday night.

From 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport, Rend Lake College instructor Greg Hollmann and his astronomy students will be discussing the stars and planets.

This is the fifth or sixth year for the event, said Wes Plummer, Mt. Vernon Parks recreation director.

“It’s a chance for people that have questions about astronomy or an interest in it to gather,” he said. “There will be special telescopes. The public will be able to talk to Greg Hollmann and his Introduction to Astronomy students. They will have projects on hand, and they will discuss and look at different things from the celestial world.”

Hollmann said the event is very low-key.

“We will be talking about general information on the night sky,” he said. “We’ll break the group up and have them rotate among stations. I’ll be sharing information on constellations and mythology. We will have a 10-inch telescope to look at Jupiter and other celestial objects.”

The evening is a good chance for someone with a novice interest in astronomy to ask some questions and get to use some high-powered telescopes. Both children and adults are welcome to attend.

“If kids have questions, they can keep it as simple as they need to,” Plummer said. “Sometimes there are people who are really avid enthusiasts, and Greg can reach their level too. He has worked in an astronomy camp and done some other work out in California. He has a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and he is used to teaching children as well as adults.”

If anyone is learning how to use their telescope, Plummer added, they may bring it and students or Hollmann will help them set it up.

Those who attend should dress in warm clothing. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available during the event.

The event is free and open to the public, but participants are encouraged to register at the parks office by calling 242-6890.