Discover the night sky at Yerkes' 'star parties'

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Staff | October 8, 2013

WILLIAMS BAY--As the seasons change, so do the stars and constellations. Yerkes Observatory, located at 373 W. Geneva Street, Williams Bay, hosts monthly star parties featuring both indoor and outdoor activities. Astronomers and educators will be on hand to help participants observe the night sky and do indoor activities.

The next event will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, from 7-9 p.m. and will take place even if skies are cloudy. Activities are designed for school-age children accompanied by a parent or teacher. The fee is $5 per person or $15 per family. Please register today by going to the Yerkes Observatory Website at http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/events/starparty/

As it grows dark, brilliant Venus will dominate the southwestern sky shining to the unaided eye like a brilliant star. Indoor activities include a presentation in the library and other family activities.

The program will include a guide to the autumn constellations and, weather permitting, a chance to observe, both with the unaided eye and through telescopes operated by volunteers on the Yerkes south lawn. Targets will include: the First Quarter Moon with its magnificent craters and dark Mare; celestial objects such as the star clusters M15 and M13; the Ring Nebula and the Dumbbell Nebula; and, the Andromeda Galaxy.

The program will also include a chance to look at but not through the 40-inch great refractor. The gift shop will be open; it features Yerkes Observatory sweatshirts, t-shirts, postcards, snacks, DVD's, and many other souvenirs.

Participants should dress warmly with hats, mittens, scarves, winter coats and sturdy shoes! All children must be in the company of an adult. Bring binoculars, digital cameras on a tripod, or telescopes, if desired.

Throughout the year, Yerkes Observatory is open for free public tours on Saturdays, as well as weekday tours and programs. For information, go to the Yerkes Observatory website at http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/

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