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April 7, 2011

Blinn-Schulenburg plans spring star parties

Schaefer Observatory This month stargazers can visit Blinn College’s Schulenburg campus on two special evenings devoted to the night skies. Star parties are planned for April 11 and April 30, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Schaefer Observatory. Admission is free and open to the public.

The popular event gives local astronomers an opportunity to share in an evening of observation and conversation. Gordon Houston, Blinn astronomy instructor and Astronomical League Master Observer, will be on hand to assist with the telescope and inform partygoers about the universe.

The event is dependent on clear evening skies. Comfortable attire is recommended to climb the ladder to the observatory. Participants are encouraged to use the parking lot on Black Street.

The Schaefer Observatory was built in the 1940s by Schulenburg local hardware store owner H.P. Schaefer and his sons, because Mr. Schaefer wanted to see the mountains and craters on the moon. The college received the observatory in 2009 and quickly began hosting observation parties and holding stargazing classes. The 27-foot tall galvanized metal dome is 12 feet in diameter and revolves 360 degrees on a pipe track that is operated manually. It sits behind the main building on the Schulenburg campus and houses community education astronomy classes, periodic star parties and is also available for private events.

For more information on star parties, Blinn’s Schaefer Observatory, or for information on additional community and workforce education classes, call the Schulenburg campus at 979-743-5237.