VERNON — The Skylands Astronomy Club will host a special observing event at the Wallkill Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Friday.
This event kicks off with Jupiter observing. The public will be treated to views of Jupiter and its moons. Telescopes also will be trained on star clusters, double stars and nebulae.
While Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, it is so far away that it appears just like any other bright star. However, even the smallest telescope shows a wealth of detail. The observer will see the four largest, or Galilean, moons. Also visible will be the cloud belts and the Great Red Spot, which is a hurricane that has been raging on the planet for at least 300 years.
Early spring is also a great time for observing the Orion Nebula. This cloudy complex is located under the belt of the constellation Orion. It is a place of star formation and its milky appearance is visible in even the smallest telescopes. At the center of the nebula, four newborn stars, called the Trapezium, are clearly seen.
The waxing Moon will be in the western sky for this event. Telescopes will show craters, ridges and mountains on the lunar surface. The thin crescent of the moon affords the observer the chance to see the shadows cast by the sun and the night/day terminator.
This event is open to the public and all ages are welcome. The skywatch begins at sunset on Friday and will be held in the lower parking lot of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Route 565 in Vernon.
Arrive early and dress warmly. Visit www.skylandsastronomy.com.