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Observatory series to explore Messier's galaxies

April 6, 2009
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MEDIA CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu 

The spring lecture series at the Drake Municipal Observatory will continue with "The Messier Galaxies - Non-Spirals and Irregular Galaxies" on Friday, April 10. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will start at 8 p.m. at the observatory in Waveland Park off of Polk Boulevard on the west side of Des Moines, 4898 Observatory Rd. Parking is available adjacent to the observatory.

This semester's series will focus on Charles Messier, an 18th century French astronomer known for his work on the Messier Catalog, a set of more than 100 astronomical objects, originally published in 1771. 

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

The programs are 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 March 20 through May 8. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the remainder of the spring series is listed below: 
  • April 17: "The Nebula: Planetary."
  • April 24: "The Nebula: Star Forming."
  • May 1: "The Special Messier Objects."
  • May 8: "Other Star Catalogs."
For more information, contact Drake's Department of Physics and Astronomy at 515-271-3141.