For years, the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus has welcomed students and families to participate in its biannual “Star Party” event, where spectators are exposed to both the beautiful complexity of the universe and the educational programs that immerse students in it.
This fall’s Star Party, to be held from 7-9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, will feature the same winning formula but with some key thematic changes.
This time around, faculty and students from a variety of disciplines such as astronomy, chemistry, geography, geology and physics will collaborate for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to answering the question, “What exactly does it mean to be an explorer?”
“The last four or five events, we’ve typically had speakers from the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) or Caltech. Our presentations have been geared towards a generally scientific and technical approach,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, Dean of the Canyon Country campus.
“But this being our tenth star party, we wanted to go back to our roots. We originally did this event to bring people onto the site, and for the purpose of highlighting the great instruction we have,” Theule said. “A great way to do that was refocusing our center on an interdisciplinary approach so people can see just how much we have to offer in terms of space exploration.”
The American Sign Language Club will kick off Friday’s action with a special rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” to be followed by trademark Star Party draws such as a variety of telescope viewings and faculty/student presentations.
Perhaps the event’s most exciting exhibition will be its first ever water bottle rocket launching contest, to be held courtesy of the Astronomy and Physics Club (APC), Engineering Club, and the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program.
“We definitely want to win the first annual rocket launching contest,” Eric Lara, director of the college’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. “It will be fun no matter what, of course, but we wouldn’t mind some bragging rights to carry over into next year.”
Students, families and community members alike are encouraged to attend the event and bring blankets and their lawn chairs along with them.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase on site, although the event itself is free and open to the public.
“This will definitely be one of the more exciting Star Party’s we’ve had with all of the different departments participating,” said COC astronomy instructor Teresa Ciardi. “We’ve been focused on creating a Star Party with this variety and focus for a while, so it’s nice that everything came together this semester.”
For more information on the College of the Canyons fall 2014 Star party, please visit www.canyons.edu/offices/ccc or call (661)362-3801.