During the spring and fall semesters, the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy will host free stargazing experiences. The event will take place on the first and third Friday of every month at the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory, which is located on the 4th floor of the Flawn Science Building.
All members of the public are invited to UTSA’s Main Campus to learn about the night sky. Everyone will have access to the university’s equipment, but attendees are also welcome to bring their own telescopes to the observatory.
“You don’t need to have a very strong background in astronomy at all to come enjoy what we have to offer,” Bryan Tobias, lab assistant for astronomy outreach, said.
Undergraduate students and members of the San Antonio League of Sidewalk Astronomers (SALSA) will be present to help stargazers operate telescopes and identify various astronomical objects. Once everyone has had an opportunity to visit all of the telescopes on the observation deck, a lecture will be conducted on constellations.
“The things that we show the public can vary throughout the year. The skies change and planets move throughout the sky. Because of the light pollution from San Antonio, it’s difficult to show very faint objects such as galaxies. But there are a multitude of things [the public can see], such as planets, different types of stars, open clusters, globular clusters and the list goes on,” Tobias said.
Sienna Benjamin, a music major at San Antonio College, attended the UTSA stargazing event for the first time on Sept. 6. She described the event as “really educational, welcoming and memorable,” and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about astronomy.
The next stargazing experience will be held on Oct. 4.