Sky Talk brings students closer to outer space


Observatory photos at UK Campus on Monday, March 8, 2010. Photo by Adam Wolffbrandt

By Cassidy Myers

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Aurora borealis, the number of constellations, which star is known as the “Dog Star” are just a few things students can learn about at Sky Talk.

Sky Talk is a monthly event which brings guest speakers to UK’s campus to give short, interactive talks about various topics in astronomy.

This month’s program will be held Thursday and features a 45-minute presentation by UK student Jake Gamsky about a NASA group known as SEDS, or Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Following Gamsky’s talk, attendees will go to the MacAdam Student Observatory for some hands-on space observation. The observatory, located on top of Parking Structure #2, boasts a 20-inch telescope for up-close stargazing.

Timothy Knauer, director of the MacAdam Student Observatory, said attendees will benefit from the event.

“Knowledge is its own reward, especially astronomy. Humans have a fundamental curiosity of the universe they inhabit. There is a desire to know the nature of things beyond the earth,” Knauer said.

“Anyone interested in contemporary topics in astronomy will find it worth their time. We have had speakers tell us about subjects as diverse as extreme life forms on earth and astrophotography.”

Knauer said all students are encouraged to attend, but students with a special interest in astronomy and the research taking place at UK will especially enjoy the Sky Talk event.

In addition to learning more about space and the hard work of students like Gamsky, Knauer encourages anyone interested to stop in and check out the observatory, which is open Monday through Wednesday on clear nights from 9  to 11 p.m.

“We invite groups to visit the observatory,” Knauer said. “One of the missions of UK is to educate its students, but this is not the only mission of the university. We have an obligation to be a community resource, a community that extends beyond registered students to all Kentuckians.”