Stargazers will gather on the courthouse lawn Thursday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. for a telescope viewing of the planet Venus and other celestial objects presented by Gordon College astronomy professor Dr. Richard Schmude Jr.The event is presented in recognition of the International Year of Astronomy, in honor of the 400th year of Galileo’s discoveries and the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.People are encouraged to look through the telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago. From an historical perspective, one of Galileo’s biggest discoveries was to prove the Earth bring binoculars. Venus is the bright object seen in the western sky and will be seen in its crescent phase.Other objects that may be viewed are the moon, which may be low in the sky Thursday night, the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters. Dr. Schmude said the Pleiades was used by the Native Americans as an eye test. He will also point out the North Star and some other constellations.Dr. Schmude obtained a doctorate degree in chemistry at Texas A&M University in 1994 and has been teaching chemistry, astronomy and science at Gordon College since then. He has also written his first book, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and How to Observe Them, which is available online. He plans to hold a book signing at A Novel Experience this spring.
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