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Observatory Programs Start Today

CONTACT: Charles Nelson, 515-271-3034, charles.nelson@drake.edu;

Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Gravity, planets, moons, comets and asteroids are among the fascinating subjects that will be explored during the spring series of Friday evening public presentations at the Drake Municipal Observatory.

The spring series will begin with a presentation on gravity and the formation of our solar system at 8 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the observatory in Waveland Park on the west side of Des Moines.

Each week there will be a non-technical, illustrated presentation on an astronomical topic by Charles Nelson or Herbert Schwartz of Drake University’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 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 March 23 through May 11. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the spring series is listed below:

• March 23: “What is a Gravity Well?”

• March 30: “Planets and How Gravity Keeps Them Orbiting.”

• April 6: “Terrestrials Part 1: Our Solar System and Planets That Are Still Changing.”

• April 13: “ Terrestrials Part 2: Earth and Moon, Mars and Asteroids.”

• April 20: “Jovian Planets Part 1: Jupiter and Saturn.”

• April 27: “Jovian Planets Part 2: Saturn Moons, Uranus and Neptune.”

• May 4: “Comets, Asteroids and Stuff.”

• May 11: “Looking for Other Planets.”

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