The physics department, along with the Society of Physics Students hosted a telescope night on Friday, Oct. 1.
The event was open to the community, so long as attendees could navigate their way back to the telescope area in the dark.
Behind the baseball field, a 10-inch Newtonian Reflector on a German Equatorial mount was set up and controlled by two laptops on a small plastic table. About 20 minutes into the event, the students and Lecturer Henry Thurston had the telescope ready for people to see Jupiter.
“We mostly looked at Jupiter and Saturn,” Thurston said. “When viewing Jupiter, the colored bands, red spot, and the four Galilean moons were visible. Naturally, the most stunning feature of Saturn was the rings which were clearly visible.”
The attendants consisted of professors, students, and a number of Lori Andaloro’s fifth-grade class from Hillsdale Academy. The students took a break from their intense game of in-the-dark tag to look through the telescope, often having to be held up or balanced on chairs in order to reach the eyepiece.
“This became an opportunity not only for physics and non-physics students to view some of our planets and stars, but also to help put awe and a sense of inspiration in the people who came,” senior Alex Dulemba said. “We can read about things like this in a book, online, or learn about it in class, but to be able to go out and see it for yourself, it truly is something different.”
“Attending a smaller event with a wider variety of people than the standard student crowd felt like a good change of pace,” freshman Madison Asher said.
Hillsdale’s rural area eliminates major light pollution allowing for a clearer view of the stars. With the assistance of the Hillsdale physics department, more Friday night telescope events can be held in the future, according to Dulemba.