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Blinn-Schulenburg to debut new telescope at upcoming star parties

Community events will take place March 3 and April 2 at campus’s Schaefer Observatory

January 28, 2016

The Blinn College-Schulenburg campus will unveil a new telescope at two star parties scheduled for this spring.

Blinn will debut the Bushnell Northstar 900x114mm Motorized “To Go” Reflector Telescope at star parties scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Blinn College Small Business Development Center director Matthew Wehring donated the telescope, valued at more than $450, earlier this month.

“It was brand-new out of the box,” Wehring said. “The Blinn-Schulenburg campus has an outstanding astronomy reputation and they will put it to good use.”

With the donated telescope, Schaefer Observatory now has three telescopes.

Astronomer Gordon Houston will begin each star party with a brief presentation, and as darkness falls and the stars become visible, will conduct a constellation tour. Guests should wear comfortable shoes to climb the ladder to the observatory and may wish to bring a lawn chair, jacket and insect repellant.

The event is dependent upon clear evening skies. Guests may visit www.cleardarksky.com and enter Schaefer Observatory in the keyword search box to check conditions.

The Schaefer Observatory was built in the 1940s by local hardware store owner H.P. Schaefer and his sons to view the moon’s surface. The family donated the 27-foot tall galvanized metal structure to the Schulenburg school district in 1991, and in 2008 Blinn received the observatory. It is located behind the main building on Blinn’s Schulenburg campus at 100 Ranger Drive.

“We are thrilled to have an additional telescope because sometimes those star parties are pretty sizable,” said Becky Garlick, director of the Schulenburg campus. “More people will be able to get involved at a time and get even more out of the evening.”

The Schulenburg Campus typically hosts two star parties each semester open to both students and the public. For more information or to be added to the mailing list for future star parties, contact Loraine Orellana at 979-743-5237.