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astronomy workshops

Photo from Vanderbilt Museum

Have you ever gazed at the night sky and wanted to know more about what you see? If you are intrigued by astronomy, and have a beginner or novice-level understanding of it, the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium & Observatory at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport invites you to take its Astronomy Education Series of six virtual mini-courses.

Dave Bush, director of the Planetarium, said each course builds upon the prior one in the sequence, while it also provides flexibility for students to gauge their own level of interest. Students may enroll in as many, or as few, courses as they choose, he said. It is recommended, however, that Course 1 be taken as a prerequisite for any of the other five. Course 1 begins September 15. Courses 2 to 6 are offered from mid-October through late April 2021.

“During the COVID-19 shutdown, this series will be taught remotely via Zoom,” Bush said. “Once the Planetarium reopens, the courses will be taught at the Planetarium in a classroom setting.  If we are permitted to move to a classroom setting, those classes will also will be livestreamed for those students who prefer, or are required, to attend remotely.”

The instructor is Bob Unger, who has pursued a lifelong interest in astronomy. He taught in the Planetarium’s outreach program Discovering the Universe: Mobile Classroom, has participated in projects for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is one of the command-console operators of the Planetarium’s projection system. Occasional guest speakers may be invited.

Courses are designed for beginning to novice-level amateur astronomers – and for anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of astronomy and the night sky.  “The Astronomy Education Series provides a more formal education than is typically provided at planetarium shows and exhibits, or from media outlets,” said Unger.

Designed for adult learners (age 16 years and up), the courses explore astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and the night sky. The textbook is free in electronic form as a PDF document. The fee for each course is $70, $60 members. To register, visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org. For further information, call 631-988-3510.