As someone who signed up to take Astronomy solely to fulfill a non-lab science requirement, I did not expect to truly get anything else out of the class except for some sort of basic knowledge on moon phases and stars. To my disbelief, my friends and I have come to love this class, as well as the newest club on campus, the Space Club. The Club currently has a small cult-like following, but hopefully as they get more known, more people will get involved.
The club recently got their name out with the “Space Day” event. You may have seen their stickers on the drink dispensers in Foss and Bobs, or maybe their “Have Some Space” banner hanging in the Spa. For those of you who didn’t make it to one of the events, the schedule included an inflatable planetarium show, a model rocket launch, and ended with a viewing session at the observatory.
The inflatable planetarium was a presentation designed for children in elementary school, but I actually learned quite a bit about constellations that are visible to us in our Maine night sky. Forty other students and I went along with the demonstration, having a good time and laughing while pointing out the star grouping of “Leo the Lion,” and identifying Orion’s body parts. It was nice to have such a simple presentation, because it is often hard to follow the small details of a textbook, and even harder to try and identify stars in the sky by myself.
Following this was a rocket bottle launching, with some students even dressed in astronaut suits. With a simple contraption of PVC pipes and a pump, we were able to launch bottles well above the surrounding buildings, and it was a fun event to watch and interact with. Although not dressed in the proper galactic apparel, my friend and I were able to set off our own rocket (after experiencing some technical difficulties in the first takeoff.) The Club members were offering all students walking by to set off their own rocket, and it was great that everyone was able to be involved in this event.
Lastly the Club headed down to the observatory for a night viewing of Saturn. I personally did not attend this event, but have had the opportunity to use the observatory to view the Moon and Jupiter. While at Colby, I hope that everyone has a chance to utilize this amazing space on campus, as it is absolutely mind-blowing to experience the universe first hand. Besides the observatory, there are smaller scale telescopes as well, and they can all be set up to point at different planets or moons. The observatory may seem far away from the rest of campus, but the trip to observe is well worth it, and you won’t regret it.
Space Day is not the only event the club has hosted, either. They have already had a NASA engineer, Michael Hecht; give a presentation about his work with Mars exploration, along with a screening of Apollo 13. I urge everyone to go to some sort of event like Space Day or this talk, because it is difficult to verbalize just how cool it is to learn about the universe. This is something you just have to hear a professional talk about, or go observe for yourself, because the concepts can be so incredibly vast that it is hard to wrap your head around it all. Like the Facebook page to get regular updates on the status of events, and I’m sure that this is not the last we will hear from the Space Club.
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo…