Highland Road Park Observatory

Calendar of Events 2017 - December

Friday, 1 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Skygazing Binoculars Unlike a telescope, a good binocular for nighttime sky viewing can be gotten at a variety of retailers in town. Whether gift-hunting or searching for oneself, acquiring the right binocular will yield a plethora of celestial beauty. The Earth♁’s Moon alone has at least two dozen features easily accessible with a good binocular. Come learn from longtime amateur Merrill Hess the ins-and-outs of acquiring a handheld device that will work every time! [No admission fee. 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 96% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 70°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday, 2 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Meteor Showers The streaks occur most nights, but the rates increase during the major and minor twenty-five so-called “showers” throughout the year. Cadets will learn what to do to increase the chance of seeing a meteor. [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 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 waxing gibbous Moon will be 99% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 64°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday, 6 December

5:45 pm to 6:30 pm: Light Pollution Committee Meeting B.R.A.S.’s open house is for all skygazers, homeowners, business owners and other stakeholders in the night sky. Visitors this month will receive the results of the first Natural Sky Conference and preview the final draft of the light pollution petition to premiere at HRPO’s 20th Anniversary Party. [No admission fee. For ages eighteen and older.]

Friday, 8 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 fifteenth 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. [Professor Schaefer is leaving Baton Rouge after a storied and successful career. Please join us for his last Bethlehem talk at HRPO. No admission fee. 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! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday, 9 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Asteroids and Comets☄ They are similar but different. Cadets will investigate the “minor planets” and the “jokers”—both in their own way making life in the Solar System interesting! [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 per out-of-parish Cadet.]
7:30 pm to 9:30 pm: Planet Time: Uranus♅ Weather permitting, viewing through one or more telescopes will take place—with preference given to the Solar System’s second-to-last planet. During this time the waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday, 13 December

9:00 pm to 1:00 am: Geminid Meteor Shower The Geminid meteors, in addition to being part of one of the most reliable showers of the year, are quite intriguing. The first Geminids were noticed in the 1860s. Astronomers searched for the comet which left behind the debris field responsible for the Geminids. In the 1980s, after over a century of searching, scientists pinpointed an asteroid now known as Phaethon as the originator of the debris. Any meteors that are part of this shower seem to radiate from a point in the sky near the star Castor, in the constellation Gemini♊. For this one night HRPO will be open for four hours, during which time members of the public are welcome. Due to the light pollution problem here in East Baton Rouge Parish, it is feasible to attempt viewing of this major shower only during its peak time. [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Friday, 15 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: The Universe with X-Ray Vision For over a dozen years the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has orbited Earth, giving us a unique view of areas of the Universe where high magnetic fields or extreme gravity dominate. LSU physics professor Rob Hynes tells us what all of the data means, and how it can shed light on the evolution of the Universe! [No admission fee. 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 crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday, 16 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Expedition 10 As usual, this historical review of the early years of the International Space Station will allow Cadets to work on the circuit board and sample the astronauts’ menus. [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 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 the Sun☉ will be in the constellation Ophiuchus at a maximum altitude of 36°. [No admission fee. For all ages. Solar viewers available for $2.00; limit four 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 waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Friday, 22 December

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: The Final Flares The humanmade phenomenon known as the Iridium flare will be no more as the satellites responsible are deorbited! There are only a few more months of flare excitement—come learn how to not miss the action! [No admission fee. 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 crescent Moon will be below the horizon. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday, 23 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Dwarf Planets It is a new category, but it still requires respect. Cadets will learn the members of the category and what lets them qualify. [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 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 waxing crescent Moon will be 28% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 28°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Wednesday, 27 December and
Thursday, 28 December

8:00 am to 5:00 pm: Winter Rocket Camp The rockets this go-round will be the spunky Mosquito and the sturdy Viking. [For ages nine to thirteen. $57.00 per in-parish Rocketeer; $68.40 per out-of-parish Rocketeer.]

Friday, 29 December

6:00 pm to 10:00 pm: HRPO 20th Anniversary Party Come celebrate with us and we fondly remember the past and look to the future with renewed resolve to continue to bring to space enthusiasts, taxpayers, students and the curious an unhindered views of the beauty of the heavens! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

Saturday, 30 December

10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Genetics How does our mother’s and our father’s chromosomes determine our height, hair color and skin tone? Will microgravity affect this process? Cadets will work Punnett square and so much more. [For ages eight to twelve. $5.00 per in-parish Cadet; $6.00 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 waxing gibbous Moon will be 94% illuminated at a maximum altitude of 77°. Please keep headlights off while parking and leaving, and drive slowly! [No admission fee. For all ages.]

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Updated by Frederick J. Barnett on Thursday, December 7, 2017, 02:04 PM.