‘Summer Under the Stars’ continues July 25

This Fermilab image shows scientists building a prototype of the Dark Energy Camera, which will survey about one-tenth of the sky to measure 300 million galaxies and discover thousands of supernovae.

This Fermilab image shows scientists building a prototype of the Dark Energy Camera, which will survey about one-tenth of the sky to measure 300 million galaxies and discover thousands of supernovae.

There’s no sign of a break in the heat, but amateur and expert stargazers alike can have some cool fun Wednesday, July 25.

NIU’s Summer Under The Stars program, “Eyes on the Sky,” continues at 7 p.m. in La Tourette Hall Room 200 to explore astronomy, optics and telescopes.

Donna Kubik will begin the evening with a discussion of the similarities between research-grade telescopes and amateur telescopes and cameras using Fermilab’s Dark Energy Survey’s optical telescope as an example. Kubik is an NIU alumna and an astrophysicist at Fermilab.

After the talk, participants can choose among several optics activities, from playing with periscopes to assembling Galileoscopes for stargazing.

Throughout the activity, participants can also visit NIU’s Davis Hall Observatory to try out the university’s telescopes, including the 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope, the 85 mm refracting telescope and the small spotter scope.

“Eyes on the Sky” is the second of three events in NIU’s annual Summer Under the Stars program.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover is set to land on the surface of Mars this August.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover is set to land on the surface of Mars this August.

The program is coordinated by NIU STEM Outreach and Davis Hall Observatory to offer free, family-friendly events where the public can learn more about astronomy, discuss the latest breakthroughs in astrophysics and space exploration, and enjoy a closer view of the heavens.

This year’s Summer Under the Stars series concludes Saturday, Aug. 4, with “Curious about Curiosity.” Experts will discuss the newest Mars Rover, Curiosity, and its upcoming landing on Mars.

Visitors to the DeKalb Campus can park in the Parking Garage or Visitor Parking Lot on Normal Road and then walk across Normal to La Tourette and Davis halls.

Parking is free on campus after 7 p.m.

To learn more about the Summer Under the Stars program and find other opportunities for stargazing and family fun with science this summer, visit http://www.niu.edu/stem/index.shtml.

by Gillian King-Cargile

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