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A Stellar Opportunity


Thanks to Ms. Sarah Goodbar, students and faculty had a unique opportunity recently to view both our Sun through a Solar telescope and another through which Venus could be seen. The telescopes were brought to campus for a few hours by Rich Drumm and Ed Preston of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society. Except for the occasional puffy cloud, the sky was beautifully clear and both astral bodies were easily visible. (more photos here)

The visit is part of a larger mini-course on astronomy being offered this spring which also has two other exciting events coming up in March. Ed Murphy has offered science students a private visit to the McCormick Observatory where they will view the stars on a clear spring night. The Leander McCormick Observatory is one of the astronomical observatories operated by the Department of Astronomy of the University of Virginia and is situated just outside of Charlottesville on the summit of Mount Jefferson. It is named for Leander J. McCormick (1819-1900), who provided the funds for the telescope and the observatory.

We will also be honored to host renowned science writer Dava Sobel on March 24th to discuss her book on pioneering women astronomers at Harvard. Her book, The Glass Universe goes into a lot of detail about the development of astronomy and how much information was learned about the composition of stars and their placement in the galaxy just from analyzing the spectra of their light on glass photographic plates.

So it looks to be a spectacular month for sky gazers!












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