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Morning Sun
  • Stargazers get insight into skies, technology

  • The magnificence of the universe is showcased monthly at Greenbush, as astronomy amateurs and enthusiasts come to learn about space and to see the celestial bodies.

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  • The magnificence of the universe is showcased monthly at Greenbush, as astronomy amateurs and enthusiasts come to learn about space and to see the celestial bodies.
    The opportunity to see the stars is hit-or-miss, depending on weather conditions and cloud cover, but many individuals from around Southeast Kansas made their monthly trek Friday for the opportunity to learn about telescope technology and the search for exoplanets.
    Josh Cochran, director of the PSU-Greenbush Astrophysical Observatory, conducts a monthly event at the observatory in which he talks about a topic related to astronomy and opens the observatory for public viewing.
    “We have a schedule on our wall at home, and it tells you each month what you’re going to see,” said Steve Shepherd.
    Shepherd said he began coming to the monthly events about four or five years ago after talking with Cochran, and he said he enjoys the opportunity to learn and the view.
    “Even though we live out in the country it’s still fun to come out here because there is less obstruction being out here up on the hill,” he said.
    That evening Shepherd said he had located Orion’s belt, Pleiades, Jupiter and the moon.
    A comet viewing also was anticipated, but late-day cloud cover in the west made it less visible.
    “It’s probably going to be very difficult to see because of the cloud cover,” Shepherd said.
    His wife, Karen, said the programs have taught her a lot about the stars.
    “It’s just amazing,” she said. “When I was little I used to lay out in the grass in the summertime with my cousins and we’d look up at the stars, but now I can actually find a few that I know what they are.”
    She said Cochran is a talented teacher for students of all ages.
    “He’s a wonderful teacher,” she said. “His little kids have learned so much because he just answers questions.”
    Eva Dudek said she makes the trek to Greenbush from Parsons as often as she is able.
    “I’ve been coming for years,” she said. “I come out every month and look at the cool stuff.”
    She said that evening seeing the comet was her goal, but didn’t work out.
    “It was cloudy,” she said. “I was kind of hoping to see the comet because I’m a self-made, wanna-be astronomer.”
    She said despite the clouds she was able to see Orion’s nebula, which includes gasses and clouds located in the Orion’s Belt constellation.
    She also was trying out Google Sky, an ap for stargazers.
    “You can’t see much, but it’s still fun,” Dudek said.
    Page 2 of 2 - This month, those who attended also learned about technology in telescopes.
    “Telescopes are basically light buckets,” Cochran said. “The bigger the bucket is the more you’re going to catch.”
    He talked about types of telescopes, advancements throughout the years and what it may mean for overall understanding of space.
    “There are so many areas we still don’t understand,” he said.
    He also gave advice for home viewers and recommended a less likely tool for optimal viewing.
    “You can honestly get to 50 times pretty easily with a pair of binoculars,” he said.
    The next event will be 8 p.m. April 19 and the topic will be Star “Life Cycle.”
    More information can be found at www.vpn.greenbush.org/scictr.

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