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College holding astronomy evenings next month

An image of the SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.
Space Telescope Science Institute
An image of the SMACS 0723 galaxy cluster captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

It’s that time of year again when there are more dark hours each day than there are light ones — which also means more chances to see stars in Alaska’s sky.

Kenai Peninsula College is hosting a series of free weekly astronomy evenings on Wednesdays throughout the month of November for novice and experienced astronomers alike, led by KPC Physics Professor Andy Veh.

Veh said he has some lessons prepared. But largely, he’ll leave it up to the people in the class to explore their own celestial curiosity.

“First thing I’m going to say is, ‘Anyone have any questions about astronomy?’ And if it’s clear outside — and in early November, it ought to be hopefully dark enough around that time — I’m going to take people outside as much as I can,” he said.

Participants will meet in room 151 at KPC between 6-9 p.m. If the skies are clear, Veh said to bring warm clothes. The college has telescopes and star finders for people to use.

But if skies are cloudy, there will still be plenty of ground — or sky — to cover from the classroom.

“Then we’re going to talk about whatever astronomy topics they want to come up with — talking about tides, talking about gravitation or eclipses — things like that,” Veh said. “But whatever people are interested in, I’m open to that.”

Veh said people don’t have to show up to all the evenings to participate. And although this series is non-credit, he’s also teaching a for-credit, 100-level astronomy course next spring.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
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