Star Party allows students to gaze at the night


Taylor Surine, Staff Writer

Dr. Clifford Padgett, chemistry professor and co-advisor for the Space and Rocketry club, gazes at the stars using Armstrong’s telescope — Sept. 29, 2016 (Phoo by Taylor Surine)

On Thursday, Sept. 29, the Armstrong Space and Rocketry Club hosted its first Star Party. The Star Party was originally planned to be held on the roof of the Science Center but was moved to the field beside the Science Center parking lot at the last minute. Even with this slight glitch in the evening, the club’s founders and faculty advisors were proud of the great turnout.

Engineering major and club president Karen Furgason was ecstatic about the amount of students that attended.

“For me, the turnout was really surprising. We really want to bring together students who are enthusiastic about space and space exploration and it’s great to see there are many at Armstrong.”

Dr. Clifford Padgett, chemistry professor and co-advisor for the club, showed students the university’s variety of telescopes and stargazing gear. He was excited to share his knowledge of astronomy with many students who share his passion.

Though there was a bit too much light pollution to bring out the Physics Department’s impressive 20-inch telescope, the six-inch and 12-inch proved to be sufficient for the evening.

Many students saw the International Space Station(ISS), the rings of Saturn and the Ring Nebula for the first time. The ISS made a full pass directly overhead the night of the Star Party, which is a rare occasion. The Armstrong Police Department even stopped by later in the evening to do a little stargazing as well.

John Mills brought his own telescope to view the night sky. Mills, a Medical Laboratory Science major at Armstrong, showed some fellow students how to use a manual telescope. He commented on what he and other students saw that night:

 “We saw a lot of planets, but I’m not really excited about looking at planets.  So, in addition to that, we saw two messier objects, which, in my opinion, are a little more exciting. We saw the Ring Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy, which are really two of the best objects to see this time of year.”

The beginning of the Star Party was successful but bad weather soon moved in, causing the party to end sooner than planned.  Several students were disappointed about this, especially after not being able to stay on the Science Center roof. Fortunately, all attendees were able to get a good look the night’s space wonders.

The Armstrong Space and Rocketry Club is soon planning to becomr an R.S.O. and hosting many more events similar to this one. Meetings are held every other Thursday, the next one being Oct. 13. Location is to be announced. Questions can be directed to