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Seeing stars at Heartland Forest

Tony Ricciuto

By Tony Ricciuto, Niagara Falls Review

MIKE DIBATTISTA Review Staff Dr. Brian Pihack  will be at Heartland Forest, Oct. 16, with a special program for both children and adults. Members of the public are invited to attend and bring their binoculars or telescopes.

MIKE DIBATTISTA Review Staff Dr. Brian Pihack will be at Heartland Forest, Oct. 16, with a special program for both children and adults. Members of the public are invited to attend and bring their binoculars or telescopes.

It's an opportunity to get close to the stars without going to Hollywood.

Dr. Brian Pihack will be taking visitors on a guided tour that promises to be out of this world.

It's all taking place Saturday, at Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls.

There's a program for the kids, but the adults have also been known to learn a few things by the time it's all over.

Things get underway with a telescope workshop at about 5 p.m., which is ideal for anyone who might have received one as a birthday or Christmas gift, but has never taken it out of the closet, said Pihack.

At about 7 p.m., there's a program aimed for grade school children.

"We go through astronomy step-by-step and cover a lot of the basic stuff that kids can have fun with and there's usually a few adults sitting there that find it pretty cool, too," said Pihack.

He will also give a talk to the adults explaining some of the more colourful Hubble images and shapes that people find interesting, but don't always fully understand.

In addition, he will talk about Space Shuttle Discovery which is going into space for the last time on Nov. 1.

Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope.

Pihack said kids manage to come up with interesting questions. They can include anything from black holes to how can the sun be a burning ball of gas when there's no air present.

Of course, someone is always quick with a joke whenever there's mention of the planet Uranus.

That planet was discovered by English astronomer William Herschel in 1781. Herschel's planet became Georgium Sidus (George's Star) after King George III of England.

After the astronomer's death, the name of the plant was changed to Uranus. It's the only planet called by a Greek name rather than a Roman name.

Pihack said people can get started with this hobby without spending a great deal of money. It's amazing what one will see with just a pair of binoculars.

"Half the fun is trying to find an object. Even with a pair of binoculars, once you start looking at the night sky you are going to see a thousand times more than what you will see with your eye."

The Niagara Astronomical Society was formed in 1958 by eight amateur astronomers who lived in and around Niagara Falls. It quickly grew in numbers and expanded throughout the region. It was renamed the Greater Niagara Astronomical Society and later became The Niagara Falls Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

It was later shortened to the Niagara Centre.

The group holds monthly meetings from September to June at the main branch of the Niagara Falls Public Library.

tricciuto@nfreview.com

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Astronomical events

* Meetings are open to the public and the next meeting begins at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21.

* They are also holding their 50 years of Royal Recognition Banquet on Oct. 23. Tickets are $45.


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