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Star Party to unveil the night sky Friday in Worthington, part of statewide event

Everyone is welcome to the show provided by the spring skies, including people of all ages and all knowledge levels.

122320.N.DG.CONJUNCTION
Paul Seifert, a professor in the physics department at Minnesota West Community & Technical College, captured this shot of the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction in 2020. At their closest, the two planets were only 0.1 degrees apart — an occurrence that, according to the Royal Astronomical Society, last took place in 1226. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — If the weather holds, the chilly night sky will unfold into a glittering tapestry of wonder and beauty Friday, just in time for the 2022 Statewide Star Party from 8 to 10 p.m. at Minnesota West Community & Technical College.

Everyone is welcome to the show provided by the spring skies, including people of all ages and all knowledge levels, as Paul Seifert, Minnesota West professor and astronomy enthusiast, will be there to guide less-experienced stargazers, along with some student helpers.

“I always have a spring star party anyway,” Seifert said, on joining the statewide event sponsored by the Bell Museum in St. Paul. “I try to have one every fall and every spring.”

The gathering point will be the northeast corner of the parking lot, which is also home to Minnesota West’s observatory, a little building with a gray dome that was donated a few years ago by Seifert’s friend and fellow astronomer, Gregg Swanson.

People are invited to bring their own telescopes if they have them, but in addition to a large telescope in the observatory, Seifert is also bringing some smaller, easier-to-use telescopes for heavenly sightseeing.

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He’ll also be handing out star maps and helping those who aren’t familiar with celestial navigation learn to read them, so they can find what they’re looking for on their own too.

“I’ll even have a footstool or two for the younger ones,” Seifert said.

The star of the show on Friday may not even be a star at all, but the Moon at its half-moon stage, Seifert said. Star clusters and some galaxies will be visible too, though they might be a little trickier on the small telescopes. And then there are the constellations, sparkling across the sky and bringing ancient myths into the present day.

Seifert encourages party-goers to dress warmly, as there’s not much shelter to block the wind — or the view — in the parking lot. Hot chocolate and treats will be available, contributed by Minnesota West.

While the weather still looked promising as of earlier this week, cloudy skies would prompt a cancellation. Those who want to check whether the party is still on should call (507) 372-3432 to listen to the message Seifert leaves there. He said he’d also try to get the word out on social media too.

For more information or locations for the statewide star party, visit www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/statewide-star-party-2022

READ MORE FROM KARI LUCIN

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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