Celebrate White House Astronomy Night at JJC Oct. 19th

In celebration of White House Astronomy Night, Joliet Junior College’s Natural Sciences Department and Trackman Planetarium are hosting two telescope viewing events on Monday, Oct. 19 near the softball field on the south end of Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet. These events are free and open to the public.

“The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy requested scientists and organizations around the country to host their own events in conjunction with the White House Astronomy Night,” said JJC Professor of Astronomy Noella Dcruz. “So, I decided to have daytime and nighttime telescope viewing for everyone to celebrate this event.”

Daytime Viewing Event: 10-11 a.m.

Astronomy is traditionally associated with darkness, not daytime. However, the Earth’s nearest star, the Sun, is visible during the daytime. Attendees will have the chance to view it safely through three instruments. One is a 2.5 inch telescope with a special built-in hydrogen filter that allows viewers to see prominences (gas plumes) at the edge of the Sun. The second instrument is a two-inch “Sunspotter” telescope that will show sunspots (regions on intense magnetic field). The third instrument, a solar spectroscope, will break up the Sun’s light into the rainbow in such detail that viewers will be able to see lots of dark lines within the rainbow colors. The dark spectral lines indicate the presence of different chemicals in the Sun, such as hydrogen, magnesium, sodium, etc. Astronomers use spectral lines in other astronomical objects to determine their chemical composition.

Nighttime Telescope Viewing Event: 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Viewers will have the chance to look through telescopes at the Ring Nebula in Lyra, the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, Moon, the double star Albireo in Cygnus, the double star cluster in Perseus, the Andromeda Galaxy, etc. Attendees should check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.

In case of rain, the events will be cancelled. For more information, contact Prof. Noella Dcruz at 815-280-2572 or ndcruz@jjc.edu.

When on Main Campus, follow the signage to South Lot 7. See a map of Main Campus.

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