Ohio Wesleyan’s Perkins Observatory Offers Astronomy Mini-Course

2012 ‘New Vistas’ Discussion Series Focuses on Latest Scientific Discoveries

Ohio Wesleyan’s Perkins Observatory is central Ohio’s place for space, with Friday sky watches and an astronomy mini-course for adults. (Photo by Paul Molitor)

DELAWARE, OHIO – If the stars in the sky put a twinkle in your eye and fuel your passion for science, Ohio Wesleyan University’s Perkins Observatory can help satisfy your inner astronomer.

Each month in 2012, Perkins Observatory, 3199 Columbus Pike (U.S. 23), will host Thursday night “New Vistas in Astronomy” discussions. The astronomy mini-course is aimed at sharing the latest interstellar updates and starwatching secrets. Discussions are geared toward adults and feature experts from Ohio Wesleyan or The Ohio State University.

Perkins Observatory Director Tom Burns said the talks are intended to focus on cutting-edge news and will include opportunities for participants to observe celestial bodies through the observatory’s 32-inch Schottland reflecting telescope, weather permitting.

Cost for the New Vistas series is $60 for the full, yearlong course or $7 per monthly discussion. For reservations, call the observatory at (740) 363-1257.

Scheduled presenters currently include:

  • 8 p.m. Jan. 19 – “Triple Stars and the Merger of Compact Objects,” by Todd Thompson.
  • 8 p.m. Feb. 9 – “In Search Of: The Eruptions of Massive Stars,” by Christopher Kochanek.
  • 8 p.m. March 8 – “Black Holes for Beginners,” by Paul Martini.
  • 8 p.m. April 12 – “All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae,” by Krzysztof Stanek.
  • 8 p.m. May 10 – “The Future of Human Space Exploration,” by Michael Stamatikos.
  • 8 p.m. June 14 – “Apocalypse Now and Then,” by Barbara Ryden.
  • 8 p.m. July 12 – “Cosmic Neutrinos,” by Basudep Dasgupta.
  • 8 p.m. Aug. 9 – “The Spots in Kepler’s Eyes, by Robert Harmon.
  • 8 p.m. Sept. 13 – “The Milky Way Galaxy: A History,” by Jennifer Johnson.
  • 8 p.m. Oct. 11 – “The Most Extreme Exoplanets,” by Andy Gould.
  • 8 p.m. Nov. 8 – “Big Dreams: Science with Giant Telescopes,” by Donald Terndrup.
  • 8 p.m. Dec. 13 – “The Antikythera Mechanism,” by Richard Pogge.

In addition to the monthly New Vistas discussions, Perkins Observatory also holds sky watches on Friday evenings, said Burns, Ph.D., a part-time associate professor of English and physics and astronomy at Ohio Wesleyan. Content varies based on sky conditions, but the weekly events may include a planetarium show, observatory tours, and star gazing with the Schottland Telescope. Advance tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children and senior citizens. Many of the events sell out, so reservations are required. For a full list of dates and ticket availability, visit the observatory website or call (740) 363-1257.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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