The College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus will be the site of the 13th Bi-Annual Star Party, a popular event that invites both students and community members to learn more about the complexity of the universe through informational and hands-on, immersive education.
The spring 2016 Star Party will be from 7-10 p.m. on Friday, May 13 in the campus’ Carl A. Rasmussen amphitheater. The Canyon Country campus is located at 17200 Sierra Highway.
The evening will include interactive displays and exhibits presented by students and faculty from the college’s Astronomy & Physics, Engineering, TEACH, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA).
The Local Group Astronomy Club – Santa Clarita, will also be in attendance, having agreed to bring telescopes through which the public can view a variety of objects during the event.
The theme of this semester’s Star Party will be “Gravity,” with NASA Astronaut Dr. Stanley Love and NASA Space Scientist Dr. Susan Lederer presenting as special guests.
Their talk, “The Truth Behind Gravity,” will contrast the physics of the 2013 film “Gravity” with reality, using video from the International Space Station to demonstrate how and when the laws of physics differ from what we see in the movies.
They’ll also explore which scenes were sensationalized to bend the laws of physics in order to capture your imagination and keep your heart pounding. The duo will also be teaching several scientific concepts along the way.
Love has been part of the NASA astronaut program since 1998, and has completed numerous missions since then, logging more than 300 hours in space with over 15 hours performing spacewalks. Love also co-invented the gravity tractor — a method of modifying the orbits of potentially hazardous asteroids — in 2004 with fellow astronaut Edward Lu.
Dr. Lederer works as a part of NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) program, studying comets, asteroids and orbital debris. Specifically, she works in the experimental impact laboratory, which studies the impacts of space debris on planetary bodies and equipment used on space missions.
“The Star Party offers the community an opportunity to see our campus up close, interact with students and faculty from the science disciplines, and learn about space through guest speakers and telescope viewing,” said Anthony Michaelides, acting dean of campus services & operations. “We are especially excited to have an astronaut and a space scientist from NASA as guest speakers. It will definitely be an evening to remember.”
The Star Party event is free and open to the public. Students, families and community members are encouraged to attend the event, and bring blankets and lawn chairs along with them. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase on site.
For more information about the spring 2016 Canyon Country campus Star Party, call (661) 362-3800 or visit www.canyons.edu/ccc.