Roane State Community College’s Tamke-Allan Observatory will have its first public stargaze of the winter season at 7:30 p.m. today.
Highlights will include a general astronomy presentation at 8 p.m., followed by a guest lecture on “Buying Your Christmas Telescope.” Following the lectures, there will be full evening of telescopic viewing. The TAOAS student astronomy club will be assisting amateur astronomers.
The Sunday sunrise at the observatory near Rockwood will occur at about 7:02 a.m., and the moon will rise two minutes later.
“The sun will rise in partial eclipse, and we’ll have a short time (maybe 15 minutes) for photos (through the trees?),” a press release said.
“Bring cameras and take a photo of the observatory dome with the sun rising on the distant horizon,” the release said. Note that the 7:02 a.m. time is correct only if you have reset your clock as daylight savings time ends. (This is “time change Sunday.”)
“If you haven’t visited the observatory on a clear evening, you’ve missed a new perspective on our universe,” the release said. Located above Watts Bar Lake near Rockwood, the observatory is operated by Roane State—the only community college in Tennessee with an operating observatory.
“Astronomy is an exciting topic, and it connects us to history, physics, natural beauty, biology, and exploration,” the release said. “Our local observatory offers astronomy teaching/research using optical and radio telescopes.”
Public stargazes are opportunities for students, amateur astronomers, and local visitors to enjoy an evening of astronomy. The agenda for the evening begins in the classroom at 8 p.m. with a welcome and program on some aspect of astronomy. This includes “Skies and Progress,” which covers developing events in the skies and programs at TAO. Discussions and optical astronomy follow.
The observatory is located between Kingston and Rockwood, near the intersection of Caney Creek and Joiner Hollow Roads—see the map at www.roanestate.edu/obs. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month.
For more information, contact observatory director David Fields at [email protected].