The Astronomy Club of Asheville will host three public star gazes on Fridays this month: on March 13 and March 20 at Grassland Mountain Observatory, and on March 27 at Lookout Observatory on the UNC Asheville campus. Attendees can look forward to seeing a number of open star clusters, globular star clusters and galaxies, as well as the planet Venus and the Orion Nebula. “Everyone feels an excitement when actually looking through an eyepiece that you just don’t feel looking at pictures in a book or magazine,” says club president Knox Worde. “You become an active participant by walking up to that telescope.”
The Astronomy Club of Asheville is a nonprofit organization of about 160 paid members who are eager to share their enthusiasm for astronomy with others. The public star gazes do not require club membership to attend. “Many of the people who come to our public star gazes have never looked through a telescope,” says Worde. “It can be a very awe-inspiring and humbling experience to look at an object whose light has been traveling toward us for thousands, even millions, of years.”
Membership dues are primarily used to pay the costs associated with the club’s speakers program. Experts in the astronomy field often present at the club’s meetings, held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville Campus. In March, Dr. Shane Larson, a research associate professor at Northwestern University, presents Feeling Small in a Big Cosmos.
For more information, visit AstroAsheville.org.