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Students go star gazing

By Macy Reeves for the FCT


Nov. 21, the RHS Rocket Team hosted astronomy night at Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow’s Cypress Cove Farm.

The idea came about after a trip to the NASA space center, in which Morrow and Rocky Stone began to plan the night and converse with the rocket team.

Morrow said the astronomy night was all about “children learning – brilliant children learning natural science and astronomy.” The event was open to the RHS Rocket Team, their family members and a group from Red Bay that plans on competing in the TARC event this year.

Three astronomers – Dr. Melvin Blake, who runs the observatory and planetarium at the University of North Alabama; Rocky Stone, from Russellville High School; and Eric Geater, a volunteer who has a love for astronomy – attended the event to help set up equipment and show attendees how to use it.

“It would be nice if some of these students came to UNA,” Blake said. “At least go online and look at it. And I’m always interested in getting people interested in astronomy.”

Astronomy night began with a warm welcome and greeting from Morrow, his wife and the RHS Rocket Team. When the night sky cleared, the astronomers began their set-up of three separate telescopes.

“I think it’s awesome that we have young people who are interested in astronomy and rocketry. It’s my hope and prayer that we can show some of God’s beauty to these young people,” said the vice president of the Shoals Astronomy Club, Matthew Sherrill.

The Shoals Astronomy Club meets the last Thursday of the month and will be doing an observation Dec. 13 at the UNA Planetarium. Anyone is welcome to join the club. Fees are $10 every six months.

After teaching everyone how to use the equipment, the three astronomers directed their telescopes in different directions, allowing everyone the chance to view objects in outer space.

“When it’s the first time someone sees the rings of Saturn or the craters of the moon, it’s a good feeling I showed it to them,” said Geater.