by Diane VanDyke
Montgomery County Community College will hold three community nights in winter and early spring in its state-of-the-art Observatory and on the Observation Deck.
The open observatory dates are Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 7-9 p.m.; Wednesday, March 13, from 8:30-10:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, April 24, from 8:30-10:30 p.m., weather permitting. The Observatory is located on the third floor of the College’s Advanced Technology Center, Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Please call the observatory hotline, 215-641-6460, an hour before the scheduled event for information about cancelation.
Community nights are free of charge and are open to the public, and astronomy clubs are welcome. Students from the College’s Introduction to Astronomy course volunteer during the event to share their knowledge and assist visitors with using the telescope and viewing equipment.
The Observatory and Observation Deck are features of the College’s 60,000 square-foot Advanced Technology Center. The Observatory features a 16-inch MEADE Schmidt-Cassegrain research-level telescope and a 90-mm Coronado telescope for safe observation of the sun. All of the instruments are controllable both in the classroom as well as in the Observatory itself. Through a fiber network, images can be downloaded for further study and comparison and can be used in online courses.