STEM Café returns Aug. 11 to Acquaviva for stargazing, wine
Dean Martin had it right when he crooned “That’s Amore” – wine, stars and Italian food are a magical combination.
“Star Gazing at the Winery” will take place from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Acquaviva (Route 38 in Maple Park). Speakers include Joel Knapper, NASA ambassador; Paul Stoddard, associate professor of plate tectonics, geodynamics, planetary geology at NIU; and Matthew Wiesner, physicist and manager of NIU’s Observatory.
Throughout the evening, attendees should also be able to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. These fast, bright meteors radiate from the Perseus constellation and appear every August. Depending on weather conditions, the meteors should be visible with the naked eye.
The speakers are planning a fun, casual talk about the latest in astronomy news. Knapper will discuss the Cassini-Huygens, a robotic spacecraft that was launched in 1997 and has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. Cassini recently made headlines by capturing breath-taking images of Earth, the Moon, and the rings of Saturn.
Stoddard plans to talk about the Perseid Meteors, the difference between meteors and meteorites, and the possibility of the United States being hit by a large meteor such as the one that recently crashed in Russia.
Wiesner will bring telescopes and help attendees identify features in the night sky.
Attendees are also welcome to bring their own telescopes and stake out a spot to star gaze on one of Acquaviva’s patios. Organizers say that the winery is located in an area with less ambient light so it should be ideal for star-gazing.
The event is free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Acquaviva Winery. STEM Outreach plans to uncork Acquaviva’s wines and discuss the stars whether the night is clear or cloudy.