Last night, hundreds of members of our community came to campus to indulge in and learn about astronomy. Featuring a unique public lecture about space rocks followed by a stargazing party at Columbia Lake Fields, people of all ages were mesmerized by our solar system.
Professor Michael Balogh and Associate Chair for the Department of Physics and Astronomy kicked the evening off with an introductory lecture titled “Space Rocks.” It’s been an exciting 12 months for solar system exploration, with a spacecraft visiting a comet (67p), a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt (Ceres) and a much more distant and famous dwarf planet, Pluto. Speaking to this array of discovery, Balogh’s talk captivated audiences attention, with exciting topics such as the search for life on other planets. Not only did he discuss planets and other rocks that make up our solar system, but he also touched on the origins of the annual August Perseid meteor shower, which is at its most active peak this week.
Hosted by the Faculty of Science’s Outreach team, this annual event was designed to inform and engage the community to learn about the solar system in an interactive way. By joining forces with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, volunteers, staff, and expert astronomers were on site to help the community learn more about the shower and see meteors first hand.
The best part of the evening was hearing the oohs and ahhs erupt from the field when the sparkly shower flashed across the night sky. By merging education with entertainment and discovery, our community not only learned something new, but they had a ton of fun doing it.