Events

Upcoming Events

  • April 22, 2017 – North Carolina Science Festival’s Statewide Star Party

Weather update (4/22/17 at 12:32 pm):  All weather forecasts are currently calling for cloudy conditions and a chance of thunderstorms tonight.  Therefore, we anticipate that the stargazing portion of our Statewide Star Party event will need to be cancelled.  However, we will still have our interactive demo show ‘Story of a Star’ at 6:30 pm and our public lecture by NASA Solar System Ambassador Larry Metcalf entitled ‘Practice, Practice, Practice for a Perfect Solar Eclipse at 7:30 pm, as originally planned.  Both events will be held in Dana 146.  Please join us!

Please join us on Saturday, April 22nd as Davidson College serves as a host site for the 2017 North Carolina Science Festival’s Statewide Star Party!  We will offer a trio of programs as part of this event.   As always, all events are free and open to the public!

6:30 – 7:30 pm in Dana 146

Story of a Star – Come learn all about stars during this interactive demo show!  We will discuss how stars form, how they live their lives, and what makes them unique.  This event will be fun and educational for all ages!

7:30 – 8:30 pm in Dana 146

Practice, Practice, Practice for the Perfect Solar Eclipse – NASA Solar System Ambassador Larry Metcalf will deliver a public lecture about the science of eclipses as well as how to safely view and photograph the phenomenon.  This is a perfect way to prepare for the total eclipse that will be passing through our area on August 21, 2017!

8:30 – 10:30 pm on the Campus Lawn

Stargazing – Join us for stargazing on the Campus Lawn.  You will be able to view planets, stars, and galaxies through the Physics Department’s telescopes.  Bring some friends and a blanket for a fun-filled night of stargazing.  This portion of the event is weather permitting.  In case of questionable weather conditions, check back here or at the Davidson College Physics Department Facebook page for updates on the day of the event.

Event Flyer (click for larger and/or printable version)

 


  • August 21, 2017 – Total Solar Eclipse – The Sun, the Moon, and You:  An eclipse celebration 117 years in the making

We are in the process of planning a viewing event for the 2017 solar eclipse.  From Davidson, the eclipse only partial in nature.  However, a short drive south into South Carolina will get you to the path of totality.  The last time that a total solar eclipse passed through our area was in the year 1900.  Dr. Henry Smith, then a physics professor at Davidson, traveled to Winnsboro, SC as part of an expedition to view and study the eclipse.  This coming August, we will commemorate the 1900 eclipse expedition by revisiting the site of the original observing station and holding a public viewing event.  The event is called “The Sun, the Moon, and You: An eclipse celebration 117 years in the making”  and will be held in Winnsboro, SC.  The event is being planned in collaboration with the Fairfield Museum in Winnsboro.  We will offer a combination of public lectures, eclipse viewing, and museum exhibits in the days leading up to, and on the day of, the event.  Stay tuned for more information or visit the eclipse Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thesunthemoonandyou/.

 

 




 

 

Past Events

  • April 8, 2017 – Davidson Space Day

We had a great day with great fun and great weather! Thanks to all who stopped by.  Look for Davidson Space Day Version 2 next spring!

  • Join us for a fun-filled day of astronomy exploration on Saturday, April 8, 2017 for our 1st Davidson Space Day!  This event will be filled with fun space-themed programming for all ages in a carnival-like atmosphere.  As always, the event will be free and open to the public.  The event will be broken into three parts:

    3 – 6 pm:  Find us on Chambers lawn for an interactive astronomy fair during which you can explore various astronomy topics through numerous activities and demonstrations.  Why does the Moon appear to change shape?  Do humans glow in the dark?  Are all stars like our Sun?  What is a black hole like?  Come learn the answers to these questions and more!  You can also walk our scale model of the Solar System, sample some liquid nitrogen ice cream, safely view the Sun through our solar telescopes, and take home some fun crafts!  In case of inclement weather, the fair will be held indoors in the Dana Science Laboratory Building.

    7 – 8 pm:  Get off of your feet and relax for a few minutes while you enjoy a public lecture in Tyler-Tallman Hall of the Sloan Music Center.  NASA Solar System Ambassador Jack Howard will discuss the recent TRAPPIST-1 system discovery and where it fits into the search for Earth-like planets.  A title and abstract for the talk will be posted soon.  The talk will be “low tech” and appropriate for all ages.  Rain or shine, the show will go on.

    8 – 10 pm:  Following the public lecture, and after the Sun has set, wind down with nighttime stargazing and guided tours of the sky through our telescopes from Chambers lawn, weather permitting.  You will be able to gaze upon celestial objects such as planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies with your own eyes and learn about the springtime constellations.  Due to the nature of astronomy, the stargazing portion of the event will be canceled in the case of poor weather and/or cloudy sky conditions.  If the weather is questionable on the night of the event, either check back here or visit the ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page to find weather and event updates.

    Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn!  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

    A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print as many copies and you wish and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

    Event Flyer (click for larger and/or printable version)


  • December 1-3, 2016 – Davidson Star Party as part of Christmas in Davidson

Thanks to all who visited us to look through our telescope and make a Saturn and/or wire star Christmas ornament!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department presented a star party in conjunction with the 2016 Christmas in Davidson celebration.  We set up along Main Street in front of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.  We had three great nights of stargazing and crafting with the community!  If you missed us this year, be sure to find us in 2017!

The flyer from the event can be found below.

Event Flyer (click for printable version)


  • September 29, 2016 – Davidson Star Party

We had wonderful time at this event! Thanks to Dr. Brad Barlow for visiting us!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department invite you to a Star Party to be held on the evening of Thursday, September 29th, 2016.  We will kick of the event with a public lecture by Dr. Brad Barlow of High Point University.  His talk is entitled “US 708:  The Most Extreme Hypervelocity Star in the Milky Way.”  The lecture will be held in Tyler-Tallman Hall at 7 pm.  After the lecture, join us as we set up telescopes on the front lawn of campus to view various stars, planets, nebulae, and galaxies.  Physics students and faculty members will be on hand to give you a tour of the sky and answer questions.  The event is free and open to the community.  Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn.  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

The lecture will be held on September 29th regardless of weather.  However, due to the nature of astronomy, the stargazing portion of the event will be postponed in the case of inclement weather or cloudy skies.  A rain date for stargazing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4th – same place, same time.  If the weather is questionable on the date of the event, please check for weather and event status updates either on this webpage or on our ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page.

A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

Event Flyer (click for printable version)

29sept2016_starparty_ad


  • May 9th, 2016 – Transit of Mercury

Although it was a bit cloudy, we were able to get a few good peaks of Mercury!  See you in 2019 for the next transit!

On Monday, May 9th, Mercury’s path through the sky will cause it to pass between the Earth and the Sun.  This event, called a transit, will allow viewers on Earth to see the tiny planet moving across the disk of the Sun.  These events are relatively rare, with only about 13 Mercury transits occurring every century.  This will be the first transit of Mercury since 2006, and the last until 2019. It is important to remember that you should never look at the Sun without proper filters – and no, sunglasses are not proper filters!  If you wish to view this event, you must be very careful and be sure to protect your eyes.  The best way to do this is to come visit us!

Since the planet Mercury is only 1/194th of the Sun’s apparent diameter you will not be able to see the transit without the unaided eye.  You will need the help of a telescope or pair of binoculars that are properly equipped with adequate filters to ensure safe viewing.  The Physics Department owns two dedicated solar telescopes made exclusively for the safe viewing of the Sun.  Join us Monday, May 9th on the Chambers front lawn from 12:00 – 2:00 pm to view the transit!  Note that the sky must be clear to see the transit – if you can’t see the Sun, you can’t see Mercury!

Event Flyer (click link for printable version)

Mercury Transit Ad


  • April 29th, 2016 – Fisher Farms Stargazing

We had a huge turnout at this event!  Thanks for all who attended!

Our biggest event of the year!  The Davidson Physics Department partners with the Davidson Land Conservancy and the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club two times a year (spring and fall) to host a stargazing party at Fisher Farm Park, just outside the Town of Davidson.  This year, the spring event will be held on Friday, April 29th from 8:30 – 10:30 pm.  Physics faculty and members of the Society of Physics Students will set up several telescopes and a set of binoculars to view a variety of targets throughout the night.  Members of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomy Club will also provide several telescopes for viewing.  Bring your family and friends for a fun night of stargazing!  As with all stargazing events, clear skies are essential.  In the case of cloudy skies, the event will be canceled until our next star party in the fall.  If weather is questionable, you can come back to this page on the day of the event to check the weather status and find out if the event will be held.


  • April 8th, 2016 – Davidson Star Party

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Star Party Friday night.  The event was a great success, even though we occasionally had to peek through the clouds.  We look forward to our next event!

The Davidson College Society of Physics Students and Physics Department invite you to a Star Party to be held on the evening of Friday, April 8th, 2016 from 8:30 – 10:30 pm.  Join us as we set up telescopes on the front lawn of campus to view various stars, planets, nebulae, and galaxies.  Physics students and faculty members will be on hand to give you a tour of the sky and answer questions.  The event is free and open to the community.  Bring your family, friends, and a blanket to spread on the lawn.  Feel free come and stay for the entire event or spend just a short time looking through the telescopes.

Due to the nature of astronomy, the event will be postponed in the case of inclement weather or cloudy skies.  A rain date is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th – same place, same time.  If the weather is questionable on the date of the event, please check for weather and event status updates either on this webpage or on our ‘Davidson College Physics Department’ Facebook page.

A printable event flyer can be found below – please feel free to print and distribute to those who may be interested.  If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact me via phone or email (see my contact page).

Event Flyer (click link for printable version)

Event Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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