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Drake series to celebrate 400th anniversary of the telescope

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

The Drake Municipal Observatory will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first telescope when it continues the fall series on Friday, Sept. 18.

The series will feature “The Telescope: Part I,” which will explore how a telescope works and how different types of telescopes are used for different jobs. The presentation also will look at the very first telescope and discuss how its invention was at one time “too simple” to receive a patent.

The event will start at 8 p.m. in the observatory at 4898 Observatory Road in Waveland Park on the west side of Des Moines. Parking is available adjacent to the observatory.

The series, which is free and open to the public, will continue each Friday at 8 p.m. through Oct. 30, with a non-technical, illustrated presentation by Charles Nelson or Herbert Schwartz of Drake University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

Each presentation will be 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. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the remainder of the fall series is listed below: 
  • Sept. 25: “The Telescope: Part II”
  • Oct. 2: “Beyond the Eye”
  • Oct. 9: “Holding the Image”
  • Oct. 16: “Being There: Part I”
  • Oct. 23: “Being There: Part II”
  • Oct. 30: “The Christmas Telescope”
For more information, contact Drake’s Department of Physics and Astronomy at 515-271-3141.