On Saturday, Feb. 3, ETSU students and faculty took advantage of the clear night sky and gathered outside the Henry D. Powell Astronomical Observatory for some stargazing.
Bundled up in coats and scarves, students crowded around three outdoor telescopes to get close views of all sorts of celestial bodies from the Orion constellation to the Andromeda galaxy.
Richard Ignace, a professor of physics and astronomy at ETSU, directed student’s attention to various constellations and stars noting how many gained their names from mythology.
“The stars aren’t just beautiful to look at, but they tell us stories and many constellations connect to each other in a narrative way,” Ignace said.
Eventually students made their way inside to hear Frank Hagelberg, an ETSU physics professor, present a lecture on gravitational forces.
“Before I begin, I’d like to preface this by saying that I am not an astronomer, but I have many capable astronomy students working behind me,” Hagelberg said.
After his quick disclaimer, Hagelberg gave a roughly 30 minute lecture titled “New Waves in Space” which was followed by audience questions.
The event was well-received by students who enjoyed the chance to stargaze and learn about a new and exciting field of research. One such student was University Honors Scholar Steven Dirmeyer, who spoke positively about the success of the event.
“I thought it was a very engaging lecture and being able to use the telescopes was fun and interesting,” Dirmeyer said.
Similarly, Matthew Dale, an ETSU sophomore, expressed his enjoyment of the evening.
“The talk was very informative, and it was cool to learn about an interesting new area of research,” Dale said.
The evening was hosted by the staff of the Henry D. Powell Observatory as part of monthly open house events which are open to students, faculty and the public. Each month, the community is invited to attend a stargazing event that is accompanied by a lecture from an ETSU’s Physics or Astronomy professor. To find details about these upcoming Open House events visit https://www.etsu.edu/cas/physics/observatory/.
A similar event will be held 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on April 1.