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Astronomy Classes Begin Jan. 26

The Ellicottville Memorial Library is offering five, free astronomy classes this winter.  They will be led by long-time amateur astronomer Bert Probst and each is structured for adults and young adults over the age of 16.  There is no charge for any of these classes and attendance is limited to 15.  You may attend any or all of these classes.

Classes meet at the library on Tuesdays from 7-8:30 p.m. and advance registration is required.  So, if any class strikes a chord of interest with you, call the library today (716-699-2842) to register.

FANTASTIC PHOTOS FROM FAR-OUT – Jan. 26

You have no doubt been dazzled by outer space photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as many outstanding shots from earth-bound telescopes. These pictures are not just eye candy; they have contributed greatly to our ever expanding knowledge of our universe.

In this presentation, we gather shots for the simple enjoyment of viewing unique and dramatic pictures from space, such as unusual features of planets, auroras, solar eclipses, solar prominences, colliding galaxies, the birth and death of stars and features on the moon that you have never seen before.  Join us and just relax and enjoy the view.

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NIGHT SKY — Feb. 2 

In this class you will discover what’s up there in the Ellicottville night sky.  We’ll cover all sorts of good subjects, some familiar and some not so familiar.  These will include the moon, planets, constellations, galaxies, star clusters, meteors, the northern lights and the International Space Station.

NAKED EYE OBJECTS IN THE NIGHT SKY – Feb. 9

When you look up at the clear night sky, can you make any sense out of the beautiful randomness?  Do you see anything you recognize beyond possibly the moon and the Big Dipper?  If not, this class is for you.

We’ll concentrate on night sky objects that are easily recognized with the greatest optical instruments known to man – your own two amazing eyes.  We’ll view slides of these objects as well as a sky chart for each of the four seasons. This will make identifying our selected targets easier. This lecture will help you better enjoy time spent under a clear night sky.

OUR INSTRUMENTS FOR VIEWING THE NIGHT SKY – Feb. 23 

This class is for you if you’ve ever thought about owning a telescope, if you have a telescope that is gathering dust instead of star light, or if you’re just plain curious about these magnificent instruments. The three major types of telescopes and the mounts in use today for amateur telescopes will be reviewed.  A brief description of the evolution of the telescope will be presented by considering six historic telescopes from Galileo’s original (1609) to the Hubble Space Telescope (launched in 1990).

Following the presentation a mini workshop will be held.  All telescope subjects will be open for discussion including any problems you may be having with yours. You are encouraged to bring your telescope for display and/or to receive assistance in its use.

METEORS, METEORITES, CRATERS AND COMETS – March 1

Do rocks really fall from the heavens? We’ll be talking about “shooting stars” and meteorites.  Yes, there are many craters on the moon, but did you know there are more than 170 documented craters here on earth?  We’ll learn about four of the better known among these, including the famous Meteor Crater in Arizona and the most recent in Tunguska, Siberia.

And those beautiful, however infrequent, visitors to our part of the solar system, comets – where do they come from and how are they related to shooting stars, meteorites and craters?  We’ll tie all of these together.

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