The MnSGC helps support “Universe in the Park,” a summer telescope observing program that returned in 2021 after missing Summer 2020 due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics hosts the star-gazing evenings at Minnesota parks and nature centers in association with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Three Rivers Park District, and the Dodge Nature Center not-for-profit organization. The Institute, part of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering, hopes to convey the excitement of astronomical research and amateur astronomy.
The Summer 2021 observing program included events at William O’Brien, Lake Maria, and Afton state parks, and at Dodge, Eastman, Lowry nature centers. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the presentations have been moved outside.
Universe in the Park events for Summer 2022 are being scheduled now and will be announced soon.
Each viewing evening begins with a short talk and slide show. Questions from the audience are encouraged. After the presentation, if weather allows, attendees are able to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes. Free star maps from Skymaps.com are provided.
Presentations cover a wide variety of astronomical topics including the history of matter, the solar system, galaxies, and how astronomers “see” outside the visible spectrum.
Universe in the Park is headed by University of Minnesota faculty member Evan Skillman and graduate student Nico Adams.