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Astronomy series to examine spiral galaxies

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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 – The Spirals” on Friday,
April 3.

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

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 10: “The Messier Galaxies. Non-Spiral and
    Irregular Galaxies.”
  •  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.