Florida Tech Astronomy Day Set for Saturday, Jan. 24

Free Public Event Features Speakers, Telescopes, Raffle

MELBOURNE, FLA. — A hands-on, knowledge-packed day of astronomy is available to the general public starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, as the Student Astronomical Society at Florida Tech, joined by the Melbourne and Brevard astronomical societies, hosts their inaugural Astronomy Day.

Perfect for students from elementary-school age and up, Astronomy Day will feature both solar and nighttime observing, including use of the university’s 32-inch telescope; presentations from acclaimed Florida Tech faculty; and a raffle, at $1 per ticket, to help raise funds for the Student Astronomical Society featuring star charts, posters and other astronomy-related goodies, with a grand prize of beginner telescopes.

“Florida Tech is home to world-renowned faculty and cutting-edge equipment,” said Daniel Batcheldor, interim department head of the Physics and Space Sciences Department in the College of Science. “We are thrilled that Astronomy Day allows us to share those attributes with the broader Brevard County community.”

Most events will take place in either Olin Engineering Building or Olin Physical Sciences Building on the Florida Tech campus. Here’s a schedule of some of the main events for the day:

Solar Observing (Olin Physical Sciences Building, 4th floor and ground level):

  • 2-6:15 p.m.

Presentations (all are held in the Olin Engineering Building Auditorium, Room 118):

  • 2-2:50 p.m.: Sam Durrance, “Astronomy from Space, A Personal Story”
  • 4-4:50 p.m.: Darin Ragozzine, “Planets, planets everywhere, but where’s a drop to drink?”

Professor one-on-one (Olin Physical Sciences Building lobby):

  • 2-4 p.m.: Interact with professors Veronique Petit and Eric Perlman

Ortega Telescope open house (Olin Physical Sciences Building, 4th floor):

  • 2-5 p.m. with Daniel Batcheldor

Astronomy Raffle drawing (Olin Engineering Auditorium):

  • 5-5:50 p.m.

Night Observation: (Olin Physical Sciences Building, 4th floor and ground level):

  • 6:15-11 p.m.

“Our hope is that this becomes an annual tradition between Florida Tech and the community,” said Pranav Mohanty, president of the Student Astronomical Society.

For more information, contact event coordinator Laurence Tognetti at (321) 525-1531 or Mohanty at (321) 305-9555.

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