Posted by Kaja Coraor
This weekend, members of MakNet set up the Starry Night Telescope between the Koury and Ehringhaus dorms on the South Campus of the university. After quickly aligning the telescope using our handy guide, we were able to fix and focus it on the moon.
Between hailing students on their way to Franklin street and pretending our green laser was a lightsaber, we directed our telescope to a particularly bright ‘star’ rising over the eastern treetops. After wondering why our ‘star’ had stripes and moons, though, we realized we had located Jupiter! We could clearly see four moons revolving around a yellow and orange banded sphere.
Following this discovery, we spent the rest of the night alternating between Orion’s nebula, Betelgeuse, the moon, and the biggest planet in our solar system. Many of the students who stopped by were impressed by the clarity of the images they could see through our scope, and several even learned how to operate it!
Although several students were disappointed when we finally closed up shop at midnight, they were assured that the UNC telescope (and Jupiter) will be available once again on March 3rd at 8pm at Morehead planetarium. Even if you missed us on Saturday, come by for a free star show and a skywatching session, or stop by the Kenan Science Library to check out the telescope yourself!