published Friday, October 26th, 2012

UTC Jones Observatory viewing is Sunday

IF YOU GO

• What: Night-sky viewing.

• When: 7-9 p.m. Sunday; gates open at 6:30 p.m.

• Where: Jones Observatory, 10 Tuxedo Ave.

• Admission: Free.

• Phone: 425-4518.

• Online: www.utc.edu/~jonesobs.

Note: Parking and an easier path to the observatory is available behind Brainerd United Methodist Church, 4315 Brainerd Road.

It's not the featured attraction when UTC's Jones Observatory begins a five-part series on the night sky Sunday. That distinction goes to the Summer Triangle, a formation of three bright stars: Vega in the constellation Lyra, Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, and Altair in the constellation Aquila.

But the almost-full moon (it peaks Monday) should be hard to miss. In American Indian lore, says the Farmers' Almanac, October's full moon is known as the Full Hunter's Moon, marking the time when leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened and it's time to begin storing up meat for the long winter.

The website earthsky.com refers to the Summer Triangle as a stellar calendar. During the summer, it appears in the eastern sky. Its change of position to the southern sky or overhead at dusk and early evening indicates that summer has ebbed into fall.

The topic of the first two programs is "Driving on Mars," offering updates on the Curiosity rover's latest explorations. Other programs will touch on Dobsonian telescopes and give updates on NASA's Kepler mission to find Earth-size planets.

FALL SCHEDULE

Note: After the time change on Nov. 4, gates will open at 5:30 p.m., the show begins at 6 p.m, and telescopes will be available until 8 p.m. for remaining shows.

• Sunday -- Topic: "Driving on Mars." Featured constellation: The summer triangle.

• Nov. 4 -- Topic: "Driving on Mars." Featured constellation: Sagitarrius.

• Nov. 11 -- Topic: "I Want a Dobsonian." Featured constellation: Cassiopeia.

• Nov. 18 -- Topic: "The Latest From Kepler." Featured constellation: Pegasus.

• Dec. 2 -- Topic: "The Latest From Kepler." Featured constellation: "The Pleiades."

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