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Starry night: presentation provides new views of space

Starry night: presentation provides new views of space

By Victoria Ungvarsky

The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 revolutionized the way we see space photos.

Today, thousands of high-resolution photographs of space landmarks, including far-off nebulas and close-ups of planets, are available for public consumption.

Through these photographs and telescopes, Kenyon students can see up close what is viewed from afar in the night sky.

On the last Friday of every month, Professor of Physics Paula Turner opens up the Miller Observatory at the Brown Family Environmental Center to the public.

Members of the Kenyon community can view common astronomical entities, such as the moon and star clusters.

And if students are lucky, Turner sometimes opens the telescope dome, allowing students to use the 20-inch research telescope to see gas clouds and star clusters.

For this week’s Friday event, entitled “The Explorer’s Guide to the Solar System,” she will be joined by a collection of NASA photography.

“NASA photos of the planets are hands-down the most extraordinary photographs we have of the planets, including Earth,” Turner said. “NASA has successfully run fly-by missions to every major planet and several asteroids and comets. I expect this will be a spectacular slide show.”

Chad Ruhl, an active member of the Richland Astronomical Society, will assist Turner with the presentation.

The Astronomical Society, based out of Bellville, Ohio, operates the Warren Rupp Observatory near Mansfield and conducts monthly meetings for amateur astronomers.

“We may be amateurs, but we have a serious passion for the stars, and beyond that, we love to share our passion with others,” Ruhl said.

The Richland Astronomical Society partners with NASA’s Nigh Sky network, an outreach program that seeks to involve communities and engage those with a passion for astronomy. Membership in the network is free.

“This event is attractive to Kenyon because it provides an opportunity for people in the community to gather and learn about exciting exploration occurring in nearby space,” Turner said.

Ruhl, too, believes community and astronomy are closely linked.

“Find a local club. It’s the best way to get to know people who enjoy the same thing [and] get to know more about the hobby itself,” Ruhl said.

He hopes Kenyon students will leave the presentation with a desire to learn more about outer space.

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