Through the Lens: Astronomy Star Party Brings Students to the Stars

Jennifer Jones, professor and program chair of astronomy at Arapahoe Community College (ACC), treated students once again with an informative and imaginative star party. It was held the same day as Earth Day, which was April 22.

A few students were in attendance, eager with questions about the universe and all its wonders.

It was a four planet night, meaning four planets would be visible in the sky as nautical twilight approached. However, the star party had to be held inside yet again due to cloudy weather conditions and light pollution.

“I am not a good amateur astronomer… I am a theoretical astrophysicist,” Jones said as she demonstrated her Celestron telescope, Golden Boy. “I did all of my studying in front of computers and with code.”

Jennifer Jones’ experience meant that students could venture on all sorts of wacky inquisitions: from quantum mechanics to the unsurmountable size of the universe’s content.

Jones reminisced on the nature of star parties prior to the pandemic chaos. “Before COVID, we had four [every] semester – they were expected, they were regular. Here, they’ve been flap-dash and sort of chaotic,” she commented.

With the nature of Earth’s atmosphere, “colder nights tend to be better observing nights almost always,” Jones said. It’s difficult to expect that college students may willingly show up to these star parties especially on cold nights – but Jones and her crew are always prepared for a fun time, regardless of turnout.