The observation pad at the Glendale Community College North campus became the center of attention on the night of November 13, as the Astronomy Students for Telescope Research and Outreach Club, or ASTRO Club set up their monthly Evening Skies event. The event, which sees the club set up eight Celestron 8” telescopes and coordinate them to various celestial points of interest in that night’s sky for both students and curious guests alike to observe.
“If you’ve never taken a look through a telescope, you need to take a look through a telescope! It’s very, very cool,” Sarah Watt, an astronomy professor and one of the club’s advisors, said.
Watt who is one of the founders of the now two year old club stresses that the Evening Skies events, along with all of the ASTRO Clubs activities are open to all students, regardless of major.
“I don’t just have astronomy majors, but it’s kind of a club for everybody. As long as you find this really interesting, I’ll teach you everything you need to know,” Watt said.
Member of the GCC ASTRO Club adjust the coordinates of a telescope.
Along with their more fun oriented star-gazing events, the ASTRO Club also conducts a number of scientific research projects. One such recent project has seen members of the club mapping data from a nearby asteroid named Eunomia.
“We’re getting observations of it in its rotation, every couple nights or so. From that we’re going to see the changes in brightness, and use that to try to map out the general shape of the asteroid. Once we do that, we’re going to get a 3-D model of it,” Blake Smith, the president of the ASTRO Club, said. The club will be presenting their findings regarding the asteroid to the American Astronomical Society, in January, at their meeting in Florida.
The students in the club were very eager to share their knowledge and their love astronomy with any who were curious to learn and most spent the majority of the night manning telescopes and imparting information to all who approached.
“There’s no serious commitment. We’re about having fun, and seeing new stuff, and it’s just always a really good time here,” Koshlyn Karpuark, a member of the club for almost a year, said. “One of my favorite things that I’ve spotted was Saturn. We saw Saturn in the spring semester, and if you’ve never seen Saturn though a telescope, it’s totally impressive. I kind of looks like a big ball with two Mickey ears. The first time I saw it, I almost screamed. There’s nothing like it.”
The ASTRO Club hold events every two weeks, in accordance with the first quarter and third quarter moon in the lunar cycle. Around two or three times a semester on the North campus in the Dinnebito building, room D-120 every other Friday at 7pm.
The club will also be holding a large stargazing event when they take part in GCC North’s annual SciTech Festival on February 19, 2016.