Observatory’s Family Night lifts attendees “out of this world”

Caroline Kehrli, Staff Writer

University students, faculty, and staff came together with members of the Lewisburg community to explore the skies and learn more about space at the Department of Physics & Astronomy’s annual Family Night in the University observatory on Feb. 19.

The event included: a crafting project for children to build their own rocket ship, live music from singer-songwriter KJ Reimensnyder-Wagner, and a talk from Professor of Physics Ned Ladd titled “To the Moon and Beyond: How to Go to Space.”

Ladd’s presentation taught children of all ages about the process of launching a rocket or space shuttle. Additionally, astronomy teaching assistants supervised the operation of the telescopes in the Tressler Observing Laboratory.

“Although it was cloudy, we had the telescopes of the Tressler Observing Lab open, as well as the 128-year-old Clark refracting telescope. Many of the people attending the event came to look at both sets of telescopes and learned a bit about their history and how they work. Had it been clear, we would have had the telescopes pointed at such objects as the Moon, Jupiter, and various deep-sky objects,” Lab Coordinator Kristen Recine said.

More than 200 children and their families participated in event activities. These hands-on experiences were not only educational but also helped spread awareness about the importance of astronomy, physics, and science in general.

“Families can explore the skies and learn together, which is a truly wonderful thing that we enjoy participating in every year,” Recine said.

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