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York's Window to the Universe

saturn.jpg (7932 bytes)I looked into the eyepiece of the telescope, and there was Saturn. It looked nothing like pictures I had seen in National Geographic, showing swirls of colour and distinct rings. It was more like a little ball of plasticine suspended in the diorama of the universe. Although this was my first experience with the observatory at York, on a high school field trip, I later viewed sunspots from there as a first year astronomy major. In fact, anyone can have access to the observatory, whether students or members of the community. Everyone is welcome to public viewing Wednesday evenings. You can see the wonders of the universe through one of York's two telescopes, or you can watch a slide show or special presentation. Even if the sky is too cloudy for viewing, there will be exciting indoor activities.

yerkesobservatory.jpg (5076 bytes)Soon you can view our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter, from the observatory. Shortly after that, you can see Saturn, like I had the pleasure of doing years ago. In early October, the Orion Nebula, a birthplace of stars, will be visible.

fullmoon.jpg (3215 bytes)The observatory is open to the public Wednesday evenings, from 8:00 to 10:30 P.M. in September and October, and 6:30 to 8:30 P.M. from November to March. Admission is free, although donations to the observatory are always welcome. For more information you can call the information line at (416) 736-2100 x77773, or you can visit the web site at You can get to the observatory from the third floor of the Petrie Science Building. Your window to the universe is only a short walk away, so while you are on campus, you should spend an evening exploring the grandeur of space.

September 1999




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� Suzanne P. Currie 1999 [email protected]