A star is born: Astronomy students gaze at celestial bodies

Story and Photos by Skyler Smith

A 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope was set up at LAC on Sept.14. Students can use the telescope to view the moon and planets.

Students gathered for an opportunity to observe the moon and other planets hosted by the department of physical science on Sept. 14.

 According to physics professor Benjamin Jose, witnessing the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus in one night is a rare opportunity. “It only happens once every few years,” said professor Jose.

Students got to use a 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. The department had it set up on a starry night, allowing them to see far into the night sky.

“It’s set on a motorized mount,” said professor Jose. “You aim by pointing at the North Star.”

The telescope also featured a special mount allowing students to place their cell phones and take a picture of the telescopes view.

The event prompted many students to gather including Adrian Lonescu. “We live in a golden age of astronomy,” said Lonescu.

As the night went on the students would line up into a single file, taking their turn to look through the lens.

With the mount moving by itself professor Jose did not even have to adjust the telescope very often.

LBCC student Parker Spranza looked through the telescope to see the moons asteroid covered surface. “Interesting to see it up close,” Pranza said.

According to the students, the highlight of the night was when students got to see Saturn and its many rings. Many of which were not as full or smooth as often portrayed in popular media.

The event lasted for a couple hours which allowed students to socialize with one another and ask questions for the professor.

The department of physical science not only offered students extra credit to those who showed up, but also to learn more about the solar system.