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It's a sight that's always there but often goes overlooked. The night sky is the focus of a series of public star watches being held by the Astronomy Enthusiasts of Lancaster County (www.aelc.us) each month at Lancaster Central Park.
"We live in cities now and suburbs, and light pollution is a real problem," says David Farina, the president of the AELC, "Unless you go up into northern Pennsylvania or somewhere deep into the deserts, most people don't get to see what the sky is really like. I want to encourage them to do that."
AELC members bring their telescopes and the public is welcome to come and gaze through them while learning about what they see; all the fun and none of the hassle of having to buy and learn how to setup one's own telescope.
Each star watch focuses on the various planets, galaxies and other objects that happen to be in the sky at that given time. At the April star watch, the telescopes were trained on Jupiter, Saturn, the moon and a handful of galaxies. Between 50-60 people showed up to get a closer look.
"There's definitely curiosity there," says Lane Davis, vice president of the AELC and the organizer of the star watches. "Some portion of the population will always wonder, 'Well, what is a star? What does it look like in a telescope? Do stars really have different colors?' So I think they come to places like this to find out the answers."
The next star watch takes place on May 17 or 18th depending on the weather, from 8:30-10pm. The star watches are free and registration is required at 717-295-2055. To register and find out more about the star watches, check out the Lancaster County Park's calendar. You can find more information on the AELC at their website www.aelc.org and their Google+ page.
See below for more photos from the April public star watch.
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