Standing Room Only at Astronomy Open House Night - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Standing Room Only at Astronomy Open House Night

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 Novice astronomers got a guided look into the night sky on Thursday night at Penn State Behrend.

More than 100 people crowded the lab in the Witkowski building at PSB.

Before star observing time, the pros explained to both kids and adults just what you can see with the naked eye,  or with a small telescope. Usually the first ones to appear at dusk this time of the year are planets - Jupiter and Mars.

Thursday's open house is the first one of the summer, and there are are usually a couple every season.
Astronomy open house nights are something that's been going on for 18 years at PSB. Organizers say it's only going to change for the better - starting up this fall, the Erie Planetarium will be opening up at Behrend, and give novice astronomers a even closer look at the universe.

"Astronomy is a family business. It's a good way to get kids excited about science and also to share time with your kids, in the summer especially," said Darren Williams, professor of physics and astronomy at PSB.

"Seeing all the planets, the different alignment of the stars, the constellations, and the different aspects of the universe is really cool," said Bryce Williams, 14.

Here's one common misconception Dr. Williams asked all in attendance to share: The North Star, or Polaris, is not the brightest star in the sky -  actually, every star in the Big Dipper is brighter.


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