Astronomy Day to be Held Saturday

MANSFIELD, PA—A special Astronomy Day program will Astronomy Daybe held at Mansfield University on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

“Bringing Astronomy to the People” is the Astronomy Day theme. This unofficial holiday began in 1973 in Northern California as a grassroots movement designed to share the joy of astronomy with the general public by providing access to stargazing telescopes.

Astronomy Day is being celebrated on May 14 with museums, observatories, universities and astronomy clubs around the world setting up easily accessible telescopes in public spaces to allow people to observe the skies.

At MU, the Astronomy Day program will begin in Strait Planetarium under the gold dome in the Grant Science Center. At 7:30 p.m. In the comfort of the planetarium, Elaine Farkas of the MU Physics faculty will take the audience on an exploration of the early summer sky and “wandering stars.”

Tim Morey, a natural resource specialist with the Hills Creek State Park Complex, will talk about the “natural” dark sky and light pollution. Those attending will be able to see stargazing telescopes and ask questions about them. There will be a sign-up sheet for community members interested in forming an astronomy club in the area.

Immediately following the indoor show, those attending should plan on driving up to the outdoor observation area, the highest point on campus for a 30- to 45-minute star party. At the planetarium, maps will be provided to attendees showing highlighted vehicle routes to the T2 lot. Attendees can park their cars in the T2 lot.

At the observation area, people will view the night sky through telescopes, weather permitting and the naked eye. Chemistry Professor Tony Kiessling, an amateur astronomer, will demonstrate how he attached his cell phone to his eight-inch Dobsonian telescope and took some great pictures of the most recent full moon. For the event, the university has agreed to dim the lights in the T2 parking lot to reduce light pollution in the area.

“The stars should be visible and the waxing gibbous moon should be about 50 percent full that night,” Farkas said.

Grant Science Center is located immediately behind North Hall in the middle of the Mansfield University campus in an area of one-way streets. Just look for the planetarium’s gold dome. Parking is available in nearby employee lots, requiring a short walk to the Grant Science Center.

Because the planetarium only seats 100 people, registration is encouraged. To print free tickets, visit

For more information, call (570)662-4754 or email