Star Parties Bring ACC Closer to Outer Space

Make the best of Central Texas’ clear skies and join an ACC Star Party at Round Rock Campus (5:30-9:30 p.m., 4400 College Park Dr.) to gaze at and learn about outer space.

The next event will be held Friday, December 2, and will feature Austin Planetarium’s mobile exhibition, public talks about astronomy, interactive exhibits from ACC Hands-On Science (ACChaos), and public access to the campus’s rooftop observation deck. Another Star Party was held this fall on Friday, October 28.

Last April, ACC’s newest campus in Round Rock opened its astronomical observation deck for the first time, allowing students, faculty, and staff to gaze at the stars while learning about them, too.

“Our first Star Party was incredibly successful,” says Dr. Jim Heath, professor of astronomy and chair of the Physical Sciences Department. “We’re very excited to continue this event at ACC Round Rock.”

Dr. Heath will give a two-part public talk about the history of astronomy titled “On the Shoulders of Giants.” The talk will be split between each night, making both events a must-attend for budding astronomers and historians alike.

“In 2009 astronomers celebrated the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of the telescope,” says Dr. Heath. “My two-part talk will follow astronomy from its ancient Greek origins through the beginning of the Renaissance.”

Austin Planetarium shows will kick off each night in the Building 2000 lobby, 5:30-7:30 p.m., followed by Dr. Heath’s talks in Building 3000, Room 3336 at 7 p.m.

The events will conclude on the fourth floor of Building 3000 as ACC’s Astronomy Department provides telescopes, guidance, and over an hour of free time to stargaze. The observation deck will open at 8 p.m.

Both events will be free and open to the public. Students interested in astronomy are invited to learn more about ACC’s Astronomy program, and apply for upcoming astronomy courses in spring 2012.

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