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Drake Observatory program to explore history of astronomy

September 15, 2008
News PhotoCONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Major milestones in the history of astronomy and the pioneers who
made key discoveries will be explored during the fall series of Friday
evening public presentations at the Drake Municipal Observatory.

The free series will continue on Friday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. with a
lecture titled "The Real Force -- Issac Newton, Edmund Halley, Charles Messier and Joseph-Louis Lagrange."

Each week there will be a non-technical, illustrated presentation
on an astronomical topic by Charles Nelson or Herbert Schwartz of
Drake's Department of Physics and Astronomy. The presentation will be
followed by the opportunity to view several stellar objects through the
large refracting telescope and several smaller reflecting telescopes.

The observatory is located in Waveland Park on the west side of Des
Moines and can be reached by turning west off Polk Boulevard onto
Observatory Road and following the road into the park. Parking is
available adjacent to the observatory.

The program will be held regardless of the weather, although the
selection for observation is subject to change due to sky conditions or
other special circumstances.

Individuals, families and small groups are welcome to attend the
presentations, which begin at 8 p.m. each Friday from Sept. 5 through
Oct. 24. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the entire fall series is listed below:

  • Sept.
    25: "A New Century of Discovery -- William Herschel,  Giuseppe Piazzi,
    Pierre-Louis Laplace, Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers and Joseph von Fraunhofer"
  • Oct.
    3: "Improving the Tools -- Anders Angstrom, William Huggins, Henry
    Draper, Joseph Lockyer, Karl Jansky, James Van Allen and Bernhard
    Schmidt"
  • Oct. 10: "The Women of Astronomy -- The Human
    Computers of Harvard: Anne Jump Cannon, Henrietta Levitt, Cecelia
    Gaposchkin, Margaret Burbidge, Vera Rubin and Jocelyn Bell"
  • Oct. 17: "The Modern Giants -- Albert Einstein, George Gamow, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, George E. Hale and Edwin Hubble"
  • Oct.
    24: "The Master Educators -- Fred Hoyle, Carl Sagan, William K.
    Hartmann and Daniel Morehouse, former Drake President and discoverer of
    the Morehouse Comet"

For more information, contact Drake's Department of Physics and Astronomy at 515-271-3141.