For the Fall 2020 semester, the Astronomy Club will be hosting meetings virtually! Visit our Contact Us page for more information.
Astronomy Club meetings are held bi-weekly on Tuesdays at 7pm in Room 538 of Davey Laboratory. During the meetings, we discuss recent events in Astronomy and give lessons to club members about how to operate the equipment used during public events. There are also many activities and games that we like to incorporate as well (i.e. Astro-Jeopardy!)
Every Friday night from 8:30pm to 10:00 pm (weather permitting), Penn State’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Astronomy Club host open house stargazing events for the general public. We use the telescopes on the roof of Davey Labratory to put various astronomical objects on display. For last minute stargazing status, call 814-863-1234 ext. 7, or check out the Penn State Davey Lab Observatory Twitter page. We will also try to keep the event schedule on our own website accurate as well.
When Stargazing is postponed or canceled due to visibility conditions, we will typically hold planetarium shows, allowing visitors to see the night sky as it changes throughout the year. We showcase the major constellations and the mythological stories behind them. Planetarium shows are also given year round to visiting K-12 classes and some community groups. Our planetarium is on the 5th floor of Davey Laboratory, Room 541A.
The Astronomy Club also tries to make a few field trips every year to nearby dark sites. One location we typically visit is visiting Cherry Springs State Park, a dark site where the Milky Way is visible with the naked eye. We also try to make one or two major trips every academic year to places like Washington D.C., the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, and the Green Bank Radio Observatory.
The Astronomy Club regularly participates in Outreach events along with the Department of Astronomy. Among these events are local school science nights, AstroNight, Exploration-U, and more. During the summer, Astrofest is a four night festival of Astronomy held concurrently with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. It features:
- Presentations given by Astronomy faculty and students
- Tours of the universe, cosmic history, our solar system, and Mars
- Stargazing & Planetarium Shows
- Rainbow Demonstrations
- Kids Activities
- Driver’s Ed: Mars Rover Edition
- Make Your Own Comet!
- Astronomy Quizzes & Prizes
- NASA’s Swift Satellite Booth