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Juniata Physics Department Sets Observatory Nights Schedule

(Posted January 17, 2014)

Matt Beaky, assistant professor of physics, inspects the college's observatory telescope.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The spring semester at Juniata College will feature a series of "Observatory Nights" sponsored by the college's physics department starting Monday, Jan. 20 and continuing through May 5.

"There will be faculty and students there to show how to use a telescope and explain what is being seen," says Matt Beaky, assistant professor of physics, who teaches the college's astronomy courses.

On scheduled evenings students and visitors can walk to Juniata's Paul Hickes Observatory to use several powerful telescopes to observe a variety of celestial objects, which will vary with the seasons. The Hickes Observatory is behind the Brumbaugh Academic Center, reachable by driving north up Mifflin Street and driving onto the gravel drive behind the center. Parking is available. The observatory is reachable by walking up the hill.

Each Observatory Night will be from 8 to 10 p.m. The dates are as follows: Jan. 20, Feb. 3, Feb. 17, March 3, March 24, April 7, April 21 and May 5.

Beaky emphasizes that visitors and students should dress for the current weather conditions. The observatory is open to the weather. Observatory Nights may be cancelled in the event of clouds, rain or snow. Beaky will cancel by 5 p.m. on the scheduled day. To check whether there has been a cancellation, go to http://www.juniata.edu/astronomy/.

If large groups of 10 or more visitors would like to come to the Observatory, please contact Matt Beaky directly at 814-641-3550 or at beaky@juniata.edu about scheduling a special Observatory Night.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.