Astronomical event planned at airport on Saturday


Have you ever been curious about what lies beyond Earth?

You can find out for yourself this weekend thanks to a Louisville, Kentucky-based organization that will provide high-resolution telescopes for the public to view space.

The Louisville Astronomical Society will host a free public viewing from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Freeman Municipal Airport in Seymour.

About 20 people from the group are expected to attend, and each plans to bring multiple telescopes.

The event is open to everyone no matter their experience level, said Nathan Engleking, a Seymour resident and member of the group.

“We have people who are just beginners and people who are literally college professors who are in the field,” said Engleking, who has organized the event for the group.

Amateur and professional astronomers will be on hand to help those who attend. There also will be an information presentation about what can be viewed.

Several of the planets, including Jupiter and Saturn, will be visible, Engleking said.

Those who attend will see other galaxies, star clusters, the moon, close stars and more, he said.

“It will be a new moon,” he said.

That means deep sky objects will be easier to see because the new moon is dark unlike the full moon, which is bright, Engleking said.

Those who own telescopes are encouraged to bring them, and those who need help setting up their telescopes properly can receive help from the group, he said.

“If you don’t have a telescope, though, that’s great because you can use ours,” Engleking said.

Don Furlow, the airport manager, said the event brings more interest to the airport, and it could turn into an annual event if there’s enough interest.

“There are people in Seymour who haven’t been here, so I think this is a great opportunity to take part in a different kind of event and learn about the history here,” he said. “There’s so much history here.”

That history will be on display as the Freeman Army Airfield Museum will be open during the event.

The museum has multiple buildings and preserves history of the complex, which operated during World War II from May 1942 until 1947 when it was deeded to the city of Seymour.

Engleking joined the Louisville Astronomical Society after he was spending time on vacation and saw a group setting up telescopes near a lake.

“I’m a nerd,” he said with a laugh. “As soon as I saw what they were doing, I was up there talking with them, and they told me they do public events.”

Since then, he has attended a few meetings and public events.

The group also manages a private dark sky spot in southern Indiana that has little light pollution for members to have a clear view.

The group hosts public events throughout the year.

“They have the calendar full for most of the year,” he said.

Engleking said he is excited to share his newfound hobby with those in his community.

“It means a lot to share this, and I hope we have a good turnout where people will learn something,” he said. “Learning is what this whole organization is all about.”

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What: Louisville Astronomical Society public viewing event

When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Freeman Municipal Airport in Seymour

Details: Several amateur and professional astronomers will set up high-resolution telescopes to view the solar system, moon and other celestial bodies. The Freeman Army Airfield Museum also will be open from 5 to 8 p.m.


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