AP NEWS

Western Connecticut State University invites public to check out stars, planets

March 6, 2019

Things will be looking up as Western Connecticut State University will host shows and viewings over five Saturday evenings, March 23-May 18, of planetary and stellar objects during public nights at its Planetarium and Observatory in Danbury.

The program will include a one-hour planetarium show, followed by telescope viewing of prominent features in the night sky, including the moon, Mars and prominent star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the spring months, the school said in a news release.

The WCSU Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with more extensive parking available on University Boulevard.

Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only by severe weather. The viewing period will not be offered when cloud cover prevents sky viewing. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call 203-837-8672 on the day of the event.

Following is the schedule of WCSU Planetarium and Observatory public nights, with the most prominent visible objects listed in the order of their celestial appearance during the viewing period for the evening:

March 23: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include Mars, the Pleiades star cluster, the Orion Nebula and the waning gibbous moon.

April 13: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include the star Castor, the moon just past first quarter and the binary star Algieba.

April 27: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Algieba, the carbon star Y Canum Venaticorum (Y CVn), the double star Mizar and Alcor, and the M44 star cluster.

May 11: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon, Mizar and Alcor, Y CVn, the M13 star cluster, the Epsilon Lyrae star system and the Ring Nebula.

May 18: The planetarium show will start at 8 p.m., with sky observation following from 9 to 11 p.m. Visible objects will include Mizar and Alcor, the full moon, Y CVn and Epsilon Lyrae.

Western Connecticut State University’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Ext., Danbury.