01-23-13-star-gazing.gifOn cold clear winter nights the stars come alive. In the inky night sky the glimmering stars reveal not only their beauty, but to those who watch closely, their mysteries. The study of the matter of outer space is called astronomy. This scientifi c discipline has led to amazing triumphs of humanity such as discovering other earth-like planets and putting a man on the moon. This amazing science is not relegated to professionals however; amateur astronomers have made many important discoveries. All anyone really needs is a telescope and a love of the stars.

On Jan. 31, anyone who has an interest in the stars will have the perfect place to share their passion and gain some more knowledge at Lake Rim Park. Participants will be able to gaze at the stars with fellow enthusiasts and learn about the constellations and many other celestial objects as well as the folklore behind them.

Michael Moralis, a park ranger at Lake Rim Park, will teach the class, which consists of two parts. The fi rst part is an introduction to the night sky where participants will learn about the many interesting objects and systems that can be found throughout space, such as: planets, stars, nebula and galaxies.

“I will talk about constellations as well, and the stars that are in them, the stories on how they got their names and how to find them,” said Moralis.

Moralis advises participants to “bundle up, because it’s cold and the entire class is outside. Winter is the best time in North Carolina to watch the sky, because the weather is usually clearer this time of year. It is the best time of the year at Lake Rim because there aren’t any ball practices. When ball parks are lit up, the glare from the lights makes it harder to get a good view of the night sky. The introduction to the stars is outside under the picnic shelter and the actual star gazing is from the football field.

“Attendees are welcome to bring telescopes and binoculars if they want to zoom in on something I’m talking about, but it is not required. I try to partner up with Johnny Horn and the Fayetteville Astronomy Club to make sure there are telescopes around,” said Moralis.

Anyone who wants to participate should know that the event is free, but registration is required. The last day to register is Jan. 30. Be sure to dress warmly; hot chocolate would probably not be out of place. The event is scheduled to take place at Lake Rim Park on Jan. 31 from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Lake Rim Park is located at 2214 Tar Kiln Dr. For more information, or to register, call 424-6134.

Photo: Explore the night sky at Lake Rim Park.

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