Nature PEI

Astronomy – Nature We Can See But Not Touch

We are all familiar with the observation of nature . . . people with binoculars and telescopes regularly look at landscapes, plants, birds and animals from a distance, and appreciate them without disturbing them. We can use the same technology to allow us to observe things beyond our planet! Our skies are literally teeming with interesting objects that give us clues as to the nature and structure of the universe, and put our own existence into context. Chris Vessey of the Sidewalk Astronomers of Charlottetown will be feature speaker for the Nature PEI meeting on Tuesday, November 3rd. It starts at 7:30 PM at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House, corner of West and Kent, Charlottetown. Vessey is an amateur astronomer who will use his professional knowledge of computer science to enhance his presentation. He plans to enlighten us with:

 Basic concepts of the apparently changing position of objects in the sky, and what really happens;

 Basic types of telescopes and mounting systems;

 The use of computer software to simulate the sky;

 “Easy-to-find” objects in the sky right now, using naked eye or binoculars;

 Demonstrating how a Dobsonian-type telescope works; and

 Weather permitting, he’ll conduct an outdoor observing session. Be sure to dress in layers, so that you can enjoy both the indoor slide presentation, and if conditions permit, viewing outdoors. If you have binoculars, or perhaps a telescope, and wish to bring it, please do!

About Chris Vessey: He’s always had an interest in astronomy since his parents provided him with several lovely illustrated picture and fact books. One of his favourite images is the view of Venus from the Venera-13 space probe, as well as the early images of Mars from the Viking landers…but his greatest astronomy thrill was seeing the exceptionally bright and detailed comet Hale-Bopp with his parents in 1997. A lifelong geek, Chris started with computers in the early 1980s and now instructs Computer Science at the University of Prince Edward Island, specializing in hardware systems. He’s currently teaching a course in practical embedded systems, the hardware basis for all the internet-connected devices that are beginning to crop up everywhere. Although he’ll be demonstrating a basic manually-operated telescope, he notes that computer-guided telescopes are now well within the average family’s reach, and can greatly increase the ease with which objects can be found and tracked. Media Please Contact: Chris Vessey 902-940-6260

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