August 12, 2011 — A Central Virginia "Star Party" will be held Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. at Red Hill Elementary School, 3901 Red Hill School Road in North Garden.
Families are invited to view spectacular astronomical objects through telescopes and learn more about the solar system, the night sky, galaxies and the universe with hands-on activities. Several telescopes will be set up and each child will be given a glow stick (while supplies last).
The event is sponsored by the "Dark Skies, Bright Kids" program at the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville Astronomical Society.
"Dark Skies, Bright Kids" is an outreach club, founded by the Department of Astronomy in the College of Arts & Sciences, dedicated to bringing astronomy to Virginia's rural elementary schools. Staffed and run by volunteers, the organization hosts 8- to 10-week after-school astronomy clubs at rural elementary schools in southern Albemarle County as well as one-time events at other locations in the area.
"These rural schools have been our primary target because, one, they are typically socio-economically disadvantaged, without access to many science-based after-school programs, and, two, rural Virginia has some of the darkest skies on the East Coast, making the schools and homes of these students a natural laboratory for learning about and enjoying the night sky," said U.Va. astronomer Kelsey Johnson, the program's organizer.
"We use fun, hands-on activities to teach astronomy concepts in our weekly club and our most important goals are to show students that science can be fun and encourage them to be curious and inquisitive about the world around them."
For information, click here.