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 Tuesday, October 26, 2004, IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Boulder Community Explores Nighttime Skies Together
By Vicki Czech, Publications and Creative Services

One Saturday night each month the Sommers-Bausch Observatory opens its doors to a new group of space enthusiasts, the Boulder Astronomy and Space Society (BASS). BASS is comprised of experts and amateurs alike and includes CU faculty and staff members, college students, families with young children, teenagers and others in the Boulder community.

"This is an education-focused and fun-focused group," said Julie Carmen, a BASS member who also works at Fiske Planetarium. "The administration at the observatory has fully supported BASS. In return, our job is to reach out to the community and educate more people about astronomy."

"One of our main goals is to get families and kids involved," said Steve Hartung, a Boulder engineer and one of the founding members of BASS. "Kids show up with their telescopes and we help them learn how to use them."

Meetings generally include an educational program presented by a CU faculty member or other featured speaker. The group then adjourns to the observation deck where they spend the next hour or two studying the sky. They are allowed to use two of the observatory telescopes and many bring their own.

BASS also hosts occasional "star parties" at remote locations and members sometimes set up their telescopes outside Fiske Planetarium so visitors can use them after the weekly programs there. BASS members will be on hand sharing their equipment and expertise at the observatory's open house October 27 during the total lunar eclipse.

Upcoming meetings will include a presentation of celestial photos and a multimedia presentation on the history and science behind dark matter. The talks are free and open to everyone. More information is available on the BASS web site at www.boulderastro.org.



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