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Monday, 24 September, 2007 5:42 PM

"Astronomy At The Beach" Unveils NASA's Orion Mission To The Moon

PHOTO BY MIKE WRATHELL / AMERICAJR.com

A crowd of star-gazers looks at the Moon in its waxing gibbous phase.

by Mike Wrathell
mwrathell@yahoo.com

 

 

If you have kids, you really should take them to the annual "Astronomy At The Beach" event that takes place at Kensington Metropark on the last weekend of summer. Amateur astronomy clubs from Warren and all over southeast Michigan converge to share their high-powered telescopes with the general public, NASA brings a speaker every year, and both Friday and Saturday nights a celestial buff at 10 p.m. leads a guided tour of the constellations with a green laser pointer.

This year, the 11th year of the event, NASA's Robert Landis, who is involved in many current missions such as the rovers on Mars and the Cassini mission to Saturn and its moon Titan spoke about the 2008 mission to orbit the Moon with a satellite, and the American goal of our manned return to the surface of the Moon in 2019. He also showed some awesomely-detailed slides of Jupiter, Andromeda, and many other celestial objects.

Following his lecture, Kevin Dehne—Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy for Delta College near Bay City, broke out his green laser pointer with a range of 26 miles and illuminated the night sky with a guided tour of the constellations. He showed us the North Star, Cassiopeia, Perseus, The Summer Triangle, The Northern Cross, and many others, giving the Ancient Greek tales behind them, as well.

Both the children and the adults who stayed for the ten o'clock lecture on the sands of Martindale Beach were fascinated by his tour. The last time I had gone to the event was in 2004, and I can tell you that this laser pointer seemed to reach all the way to the stars. He even confirmed what I had thought was The Pleiades was indeed The Pleiades, a small star cluster/constellation Homer mentioned in "The Odyssey" and that Subaru uses in its logo.

Seeing Jupiter and three of its moons through a 24" diameter telescope is something you will remember for the rest of your life. The Moon looks pretty cool, too, through one of those puppies. Do you and your family a favor next September and come to Kensington's "Astronomy At The Beach" and learn something about the stars and the planets! You might meet an astronaut, too!

 

PHOTO BY MIKE WRATHELL / AMERICAJR.com

An astronomer readies his 24" telescope for the crowd
to see deep space objects, Jupiter, and the Moon.

 

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Copyright © 2007 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

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