Central West Astronomical Society to visit to offer a free view of the night sky

UP HIGH: Also a member of the Central West Astronomical Society, Father Paul Clark will be on hand to answer questions about the night sky. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN
UP HIGH: Also a member of the Central West Astronomical Society, Father Paul Clark will be on hand to answer questions about the night sky. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN

Have you ever seen the rings of Jupiter, or the giant saucepan?

Residents will have the chance as the Central West Astronomical Society from Parkes visits to share their love of astronomy and space exploration with residents.

Member of the society and local Catholic Priest Father Paul Clarksaid the group are offering the outreach program to local communities to promote astronomy and an understanding of the night sky.

"We use footpath astronomy, so members we come, we set up our telescopes and we invite people to come and view the night sky," he said.

"Well actually view the sky because we do sometimes do daylight viewings."

Father Paul has been an avid lover of the night sky since he was a child, and hopes to inspire other people look up and see the beauty of the sky.

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"Presuming it's clear skies you'll be able to see the clouds of Jupiter, it's high in the sky at the moment, it's the brightest overhead light, it's not a star, you should be able to view the rings of Saturn and some ... things like small star clusters, a little later on in the evening," he said.

Also on show at about 7.30pm Father Paul said viewers will also be able to witness the moon and some of the famous sites such as the Luna landings.

"You can't see the modules or anything, but we can point out where those things happened and some of the features of the moon," he said.

Operations scientist at the Parkes Dish John Sarkissian will also be on board with other members to their telescopes to answer questions about the night sky, and the solar system, but also if anyone has questions about telescopes or observing.

The free Footpath Astronomy night will be at St Joseph's Primary School on Saturday, August 17 from 6pm until 9pm.

There will also be a free sausage sizzle available.

"It's just about looking and appreciating the wonder of the night sky and our solar system," Father Paul said.

For information call Paul on 0419 496 744.

The Central West Astronomical Society formed in 2002 to exchange and increase astronomical views, knowledge and experience.

The society meet on the first Friday of every month at the Parkes Observatory Visitor's Centre from 7:30pm.

People of all ages and experience are welcome to attend these monthly meetings. No prior knowledge of astronomy nor ownership of a telescope are required. Only a keen interest in, and an enthusiasm for astronomy and the night sky, are all that is required.