Physics department allows students to meet ‘stars’

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The SHSU physics department is throwing a party this weekend that will have students seeing stars.This Saturday, the society of physics students will be hosting a star party at the observatory on Knox Circle Road. The event is slated to begin after the sun sets, about 6:30 p.m., and will last two to three hours. This event is free, and while it is a requirement for most astronomy students, the party is also open to the general public. “Most people tend to be interested in astronomy,” said Brian Oetiker, visiting assistant professor. “We invite them to come out and take a look through the telescope.”Visitors can expect to see binary stars as well as different star clusters. Oetiker said participants should also expect to be shown the Milky Way and, if it is clear enough, the Andromeda Galaxy. “The moon is in a good phase right now,” Oetiker said. “We should be able to get a good look and see its craters and mountains.” Star parties are usually held twice a semester, but more could be added depending on participation. “It really is kind of unbelievable,” said a former astronomy student whose name was not given. “I looked through the telescope and I could see Saturn so clearly that I thought it was a slide someone put at the end of the telescope to fool me.”Although Saturn will not be observable on this particular night, many other interesting things in the night sky will be visible.To get to the star party, head north on Highway 19 towards Riverside. Travel eight miles past the intersection of Highway 19 and Highway 30, and turn right onto Knox Circle Road. If the weather is questionable, or the sky looks cloudy, star party participants are advised to call 294-3664 and inquire whether or not the event has been postponed. Also, those planning to attend should wear something warm since the star party will be held outdoors.