Club Spotlight: Astronomy Club

Claire Jeantheau ’21, Guest Columnist

“If you’ve ever looked up at the sky and thought ‘Wow,’ this is the club for you,” said Astronomy Club Vice President Leigh Parrott ’18.

President Aiden Pidgeon ’20 described Dickinson’s Astronomy Club as an opportunity “to give students a way to explore how amazing outer space can be in an environment with no academic pressure or expectations.”

The club is intended for any Dickinson students curious about the subject of astronomy, regardless of whether it is an area of academic interest. The club also holds year-round events to help educate the Dickinson and Carlisle communities about the science of space.

“The community outreach we do is really important…not only because it gives people a way to learn about space, but also because for many Carlisle residents, our Star Parties provide their main opportunity to interact with the college,” Pidgeon said.

Perhaps the most well-known examples of the club’s community involvement are its seasonal “Star Parties.” These events involve public star shows, telescope viewings and arts and crafts. The most recent Star Party was held on Friday, Feb. 16 and took its theme from Valentine’s Day.

“Science communication is my favorite thing, and getting to ignite people’s passion about space and get kids and parents of all ages excited about what we do is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for the world,” said secretary Alaina Einsig ’19, describing why she loves Star Parties.

To help prepare for Star Parties, club members can choose to be trained on operating the planetarium and delivering public shows. The club also collaborates to write shows on topics ranging from the mythology of constellations to “Cosmic Couples,” a show that premiered at February’s Star Party.

Another highly anticipated club activity is an annual trip to the Black Forest Star Party at Cherry Springs State Park, one of the few “dark parks”—areas without light pollution—in the United States.

“Cherry Springs is amazing because you can attain a view of the sky you can’t see anywhere else even remotely close by,” Parrott said, “and it reminds me how beautiful the sky is, and just how much there is to learn about everything still out there.”

Astronomy Club meets at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Tome planetarium, with meetings open to any interested students.