I am fascinated with space, and maybe you are, too. The solar eclipse is coming up, and the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society has our space nerdery covered. I went to their July General Meeting to get more information, and member Jon Thomas gave an exceptional explanation on how we plan on getting to Mars. We explored possible routes to the Red Planet, the length of time they’d take, and the pros and cons. He also covered different theories on how we could make water, methane for propellant, and oxygen for the stay on Mars and the trip home. Finally, Jon covered the concerns about the trip, one of the bigger ones being the human factor.
The FWAS began in 1959 as a not-for-profit “to support amateur observing and promote public education in Astronomy and related sciences.” They hold several meetings once a month both public and for members only and have public observing sessions every clear Saturday which start about an hour after sunset. Public observing sessions are held at Jefferson Township Park in New Haven at their newly built observatory, featuring a 16″ telescope. FWAS has volunteers that will come out to your large group, school, or church with telescopes, and teach you about what you’re seeing in the sky.
I asked society secretary Gene Stringer if they were planning an event for the solar eclipse on August 21st. Not only are they planning an event, they’re planning two!
The first event will be at the Allen County Main Public Library on Aug. 21 from 12-3pm. The FWAS will be handing out eclipse viewing glasses on a first-come, first-served basis. They will also be bringing telescopes with sun filters and projectors to help us view the event. The food trucks will be there and admission is free but donations are welcomed.
The second is a group of society members who are actually traveling to Evansville, IN. The Society says that hotels have been booked for two years in preparation for this event.
The Solar Eclipse will be crossing over 14 states on August 21, 2017. For more information on the solar eclipse, check out NASA’s website.