March 8, 2013
Story by Brandon Steinert
One of the great wonders of the cosmos will be viewable with the naked eye through this week – the comet known as Pan-STARRS, which is estimated to make another appearance in about 100,000 years.
Barton Community College Astronomy Instructor Tim Folkerts has offered to help the general public catch a glimpse of the comet using a couple of the college’s telescopes at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14, near the soccer field on campus.
“This comet has never been seen before, and is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Folkerts said, explaining that he loves to share his passion for learning about the universe. “I always been fascinated by the world around us. It's just almost awe inspiring sometimes to see the beauty of nature and the science associated with it.”
He added that it’s also a great excuse to get out and enjoy the spring weather.
Visitors at this event, which is free and open to the public, are encouraged to bring binoculars, which will be sufficient for viewing the comet.
After the comet sets beyond the horizon within the hour, Folkerts said he will continue the stargazing event by pointing his telescopes toward Jupiter to get a good look at its many moons.
For more information, call Tim Folkerts at (620) 792-9320 or find the event listing on Barton’s Facebook page at facebook.com/BartonCommunityCollege.