Highland Road Park Observatory

Calendar of Events 2014 - December

Thursday, 4 December

5:00 am to 11:00 am: Orion First Flight Test United States crew vehicles are finally returning to space! After over forty years (since the venerable Apollo mission) and a generation wondering about our past and future travels, a United States crew vehicle will venture beyond low-Earth orbit! This unmanned test flight is the beginning of a new era in space exploration! HRPO personnel will screen the live broadcast—from launch to splashdown and recovery by the United States Navy in the Pacific Ocean. Seems like old times! During this event there will be refreshments, games and viewing of Jupiter and the Sun. [Free admission. For all ages.]

Friday, 5 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Buying Your First Binocular Very often the best item a beginning skygazer can acquire is a binocular. A binocular is light, hand-held, easy to store and opens up a treasure box of fascinating celestial scenes! [Free admission. For ages for ages fourteen and older.]
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waxing gibbous Moon will be 100% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 63°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]

Saturday, 6 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Venus The ancients thought this planet was actually two objects, as it presents itself in the morning and evening skies. [For ages eight to twelve. $5 per in-parish Cadet; $6 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning gibbous Moon will be 99% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 52°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]

Monday, 8 December

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm: Baton Rouge Astronomical Society Meeting For over thirty years B.R.A.S. has educated countless numbers of citizens in the joys of planetary and deep-sky gazing, the perils of light pollution and factors to consider when buying a pair of binoculars or a telescope. B.R.A.S. members have published in Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, and Scientific American. B.R.A.S. members have constructed their own telescopes and photographic platforms. B.R.A.S. members have entered robotics competitions, imaged comets, earned observing certificates and discovered asteroids. B.R.A.S. members have been interviewed by local media and the National Geographic Society. Anyone interested in learning more about B.R.A.S. is invited to attend. [Free admission. For ages for ages fourteen and older.]

Friday, 12 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: The Star of Bethlehem What exactly occurred in the Middle East 2000 years ago? Can modern scientific calculations shed light on the puzzle? LSU physics professor Brad Schaefer will use current theory to take the audience step-by-step toward the solution to the mystery. If you've never experienced this lecture before, don't miss out. This is Professor Schaefer's twelfth consecutive year bringing this incredible presentation to HRPO patrons. During his career he has published in Sky & Telescope magazine, discovered a long-lost ancient atlas, appeared on a National Geographic program and earned an invitation to the Nobel Physics Prize ceremony! [Free admission. For ages for ages fourteen and older.]
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning gibbous Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]

Saturday, 13 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Expedition 5 Continuing our long-standing tradition of periodic “trips” to the ISS, Cadets will construct on a circuit board and sample the astronauts’ menus. [For ages eight to twelve. $5 per in-parish Cadet; $6 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning gibbous Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]
9:00 pm to 1:00 am: Geminid Meteor Shower For this one night, patrons are invited to count the streaks in the skies above HRPO. The Geminids are one of the most reliable meteor shower of the year, caused by debris from the asteroid Phaethon. Let’s spot some earthgrazers! Visitors must follow all rules and regulations. [Free admission. For all ages.]

Friday, 19 December

6:00 pm to 10:00 pm: International Year of Light Preview Party 2015 has been proclaimed the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.” This proclamation is an initiative of scientific organizations and UNESCO. IYL2015 is meant to focus on the science of light and light-based applications. HRPO is happy to announce that this proclamation takes into account the dangers and wastes of light pollution. This party will introduce the local citizenry to the concept and give an overview of currently-known IYL tie-ins to 2015 HRPO programming. Drinks and refreshments. [Free admission. For all ages.]

Saturday, 20 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Distance in Space The enormous span of the fabric of spacetime is covered…at least from the chairs of HRPO's Science Academy! [For ages eight to twelve. $5 per in-parish Cadet; $6 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]

Saturday, 27 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Temperature in Space From the bitter cold of interstellar voids to the nuclear furnaces of stellar cores…space teaches us that the difference in temperature between Mount Everest and Death Valley is quite slight! [For ages eight to twelve. $5 per in-parish Cadet; $6 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
12:00 pm to 2:00 pm: Solar Viewing Weather permitting, safe viewing of the Sun in three different manners will occur during this time period. During this time the Sun will be in the constellation Sagittarius at a maximum altitude of 36°. [Free admission. Solar viewers available for $2.00; limit two per adult purchaser.]
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm: Evening Sky Viewing Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place. During this time the waxing crescent Moon will be 43% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 47°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [Free admission. For all ages.]

Monday, 29 December and Tuesday, 30 December

8:00 am to 5:00 pm both days: Winter Rocket Camp This year at Winter Rocket Camp, the rockets are the miniscule Mosquito and the ferocious Fusion X25. Children will need to bring a lunch that does not require refrigeration. A hat and sunscreen are strongly recommended. All camp materials are provided. [For ages nine to thirteen. $55 per in-parish Rocketeer; $66 per out-of-parish Rocketeer.]

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Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 3:06:41 PM.