Back To All News

Dazzling Evening of Stargazing

July 26th, 2017

It’s time once again for a dazzling evening of stargazing, great food and scientific talks. The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak in mid-August, as brilliant meteors radiate from the Perseus constellation and appear throughout the sky.

At the next STEM Café, view the meteor shower and hear from experts about hot astrophysics topics. This free event will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at Rochelle Municipal Airport (1207 W. Gurler Road, Rochelle, Illinois).

Beginning at 7:15 p.m., speakers will discuss the meteor shower and related news. After dark, guests can watch the meteor shower and view the night sky through their own telescopes or those provided by NIU.

This is a free family-friendly event. A $15 all-inclusive build-your-own burger  (vegetarian option available) and cash bar will be available for purchase. A chicken tender meal for ages 12 and younger will be available for $8.

“The peak night for the Perseid meteor shower is Saturday, Aug. 12,” says STEM Café coordinator Judith Dymond. “If the weather holds up, it should be great viewing. Otherwise, we have three terrific speakers, so we will have the event rain or shine.”

STEM educator Jeremy Benson will discuss “The Sky Tonight: What’s Visible and What Causes a Meteor Shower?” He’ll set up telescopes for night viewing and let guests know what they can expect to see.

Paul Stoddard, an associate professor of geology and environmental geosciences, will prepare the audience for the solar eclipse that will occur later in August with his talk, “Why Are Scientists So Excited About the Solar Eclipse?” He’ll explain why eclipses occur and describe what to look for during the Aug. 21 eclipse.

NASA solar system ambassador Joel Knapper will discuss NASA’s future missions.

“How would you like to travel to a vast ocean world under an ice-covered moon?” he asks. “How about a visit to the metal core of a planet? Of course you could also rove along Mars, collecting samples to bring back to Earth.”

While these things may sound like science fiction, they actually represent some of the exciting missions that NASA will be launching in the next few years.

This event is part of NIU STEM Outreach’s series of monthly STEM Cafés, which are free and open to the public. The STEM Café series is just one of the many engaging events that STEM Outreach hosts to increase public awareness of the critical role that STEM fields play in our everyday lives. For more information, call 815-753-4751 or email jdymond@niu.edu.

#STEM