A night fit for Galileo

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Pierce students and those interested in seeing close up versions of celestial objects showed up Monday night at the Center for Sciences to get an out of this world experience, viewing stars and planets through telescopes.

Astronomy Professor Dale Fields has hosted nights such as Monday’s for over six years. Viewing nights only officially became a routine once he got into the Center for Sciences building.

He now hosts viewing nights twice a semester for students interested in seeing heavenly bodies through high powered telescopes with his guidance and expertise.

Fields said that on these viewing nights there is a chance to see something that not everyone has seen before.

“You can’t really trust something that you see on the T.V. or on the computer screen because it might be CG,” Fields said. “If you get a chance to see something with your own eyes, then you know it is real. You can see that right there, that is Venus. That is the moon, with all of its craters, that it really does have all of these shapes, curves, circles and different colors. That’s the main thing that I wanted people to see. To get a chance to actually realize, ‘Hey this is actually real stuff.’”

Psychology major sophomore Michael Ortiz, 20, is currently a student of Fields. Ortiz came to the viewing hoping to see things closer such as the moon or Jupiter.

“I am currently taking astronomy one and it is a pretty fascinating class. I wanted to see through a telescope to see what it looks like for my own eyes. Bigger images, in real time, in real life.”

Fields set up two telescopes for the attendees to see through and answered any of the questions that were asked. Each time he moved on to a new celestial body, he made sure to notify the audience of what was significant about it spewing out facts left and right.

Freshman Maya Lev brought a group of friends with her to view the stars. Each one of them had wanted to see something different.

“I had a night view for lab this semester and it completely blew my mind,” Lev said. “It was such an amazing experience that I wanted my friends to be able to experience it too. I am glad that they are getting to see something that they would have never really had the opportunity to before.”

The next viewing night scheduled for this semester is Wednesday, May 3, from sunset until around 10:30 p.m. unless there is a discrepancy with weather. Fields is also hosting a planetarium show on Friday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m. Both events are free to the public.