by Diane VanDyke
Bring your family, friends and clubs to explore and take a closer look at the night sky during Montgomery County Community College’s free community nights in its state-of-the-art Observatory and Observation Deck.
The College will hold six community observatory sessions during 2014-15. In the fall, observatory nights are scheduled for Mondays, 8-10 p.m., on Sept. 22, Oct. 20 and Nov. 17. In the spring, observatory nights are scheduled for Wednesdays, 8-10 p.m., on Feb. 18, March 25 and April 22.
The Observatory is located on the third floor of the College’s Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Call the observatory hotline, 215-641-6460, an hour before each event for information about cancelation due to weather conditions.
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.
Community nights are free of charge and are open to the public, and astronomy clubs and scout troops 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.