Watching the skies over the Southeast Side: Astronomers setting up telescopes for the public Saturday evening


After a summer time the place a lot of them hid till almost daybreak, the planets are again at an affordable hour.

“They have come out from behind the sun and entered our evening skies,” stated Joe Guzman, an astronomer for the Chicago Park District.

To mark their return, Guzman and a staff of volunteer astronomers can be organising telescopes for the general public on the Southeast Side Saturday night.

The occasion runs from round sundown to 9:30 p.m. at Steelworkers Park at 87th Street and the lake. It is free and open to the general public, no registration needed.

Headlining the early autumn skies are the 2 largest celestial our bodies in our photo voltaic system– Saturn and Jupiter. “If you’ve never seen Saturn in a telescope, it’s a marvel to behold,” Guzman stated.

Some observers can’t consider they’re seeing its rings so clearly or the various moons of Jupiter.

But the longtime astronomer stated with telescopes and filters to “punch through light pollution,” in addition to guides, “you can see the wonders of the universe from underneath a street lamp.”

To that finish, Guzman will deliver his personal Celestron C11 telescope. Weighing about 250 kilos, it’s the largest in Chicago exterior the Adler Planetarium’s, he stated.

A participant at a Chicago Park District astronomy event in early September. Held during the daytime, the group used specialized telescopes to observe the sun.

A participant at a Chicago Park District astronomy occasion in early September. Held throughout the daytime, the group used specialised telescopes to look at the solar.

Additional tools consists of a big monitor to indicate objects on a big scale; a string of crimson lights to stop individuals from tripping whereas not interfering with remark; and extra telescopes introduced by volunteers.

“We try to bring a variety of equipment for people to get a sense of the differences and appreciate the tradeoffs,” stated John Napoletano, a longtime volunteer with Guzman.

These embrace guide telescopes, however most are what Napoletano known as “GoTo” telescopes, which use software program to trace objects.

Looking out onto the lake with a waning moon, the group expects to have darkish sufficient skies to look at deep house objects as nicely, together with nebulae, star clusters and different galaxies.

When they get to the “E.T.” star cluster — a gaggle of stars that resembles the extraterrestrial star of the Steven Spielberg film — Guzman stated the dialog usually wanders to life past earth.

“There’s a great level of pondering about that,” Guzman stated.

For these don’t make it Saturday, the group will host one other session Monday night at Mather Park on the North Side.

Michael Loria is a workers reporter on the Chicago Sun-Times by way of Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that goals to bolster the paper’s protection of communities on the South and West sides.

Joe Guzman setting up a telescope at a previous Chicago Park District astronomy event.

Joe Guzman units up a telescope at a earlier Chicago Park District astronomy occasion.

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