Students starstruck by the universe

For those interested in astronomy, the chunk of rock called Earth and everything else related to physical science, then the Astronomy Society at Pierce College should feel like home.

“As a person, I just find nerdy stuff really cool,” said Dale Fields, Astronomy Society adviser and assistant professor of astronomy at Pierce College.

The Astronomy Society meets on Fridays at 3 p.m. in Room 92047 of the Center for the Sciences. They discuss topics like finding and confirming planets, solar systems, other ‘earths’ in the universe, geology, natural polygons and the Hubble Space Telescope among several other topics.

“There is no more humbling of a science than astronomy,” said Felipe Cabello, vice-president of the Astronomy Society. “It’s cool for me to see that there are people who also agree and they want to use this club to explore not only astronomy but everything else.”

Daniel Best, a new member of the club, came across the group during Club Rush last semester. Looking through the telescope they had set up and talking with the group cemented his decision to join.

“I thought it was cool,” Best said. “I came to a club meeting and found out that the people in the club were really fun, cool and funny.”

Members interests and majors range from political science to environmental science to geology.

“We have official meetings off campus and talk about not only astronomy, but the politics with it,” Cabello said.

Along with the weekly meetings, the club hosts open viewing nights and planetarium shows several times a semester.

Viewing nights let the public looking through telescopes at the night sky with the assistance of adviser Fields. Planetarium shows give the public a different and unique view of the solar system.

More than 30 people attended Friday’s viewing night. They were able to look through telescopes including a Dobsonian and two Schmidt-Cassegrains.

The next viewing night is planned for May 7 at around 6 p.m. The planetarium shows are scheduled for April 16 from 7 – 9 p.m. and May 23 from 6 – 8 p.m.

The Astronomy Society will be hosting a fundraiser Friday, March 21 from 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. to raise money for their upcoming weekend trip to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara to study astronomy in the field.

“The easy part is getting me to start talking about astronomy,” Fields said. “The difficult part is getting me to shut up.”

To attend a club meeting, just walk, bike, or drive over to Room 92047 in the Center for the Sciences building or find them on Facebook as the “Pierce College Astronomy Society.”