Winter Stargazing from Grier's Observatory
The skies were clear on a late February Friday night, so Mrs. Fernandes met a group of thirty astronomy enthusiasts inside the Andrew Wilson Observatory on the rooftop of the Science Building on Grier’s campus. The students bundled up in coats and gloves for the late-night winter sky viewing session. Through the telescopes, they observed Venus, the Orion nebula, the Andromeda galaxy, and the winter constellations.
Venus, setting early in the evening.
Orion (Betelgeuse red giant)
Taurus (orange star Aldebaran)
Big Dipper, Cassiopeia
Canis Major (brightest star Sirius)
Deep Space Objects:
The Orion Nebula (1,500 light years away, stellar nursery, young stars) Double Cluster (about 300 stars, very young 3-5 million years old, both are open clusters)
Andromeda galaxy (M31, 2.5 million light years away, 1 trillion stars)
Pleiades Cluster (open cluster, called the "Seven Sisters" but actually contains hundreds of stars, over 400 light years away, 100 million years old)
Mrs. Fernandes hopes to open the observatory sometime during the day so that students can view the sun through the special solar telescope.