Students and community members gather for Neckers public astronomy viewing


Jenifer Ruiz, a senior studying radiation therapy, of Zion looking at the planets and stars through a telescope on the roof of Neckers during the physic department’s public astronomy viewing, Sunday, Aug. 2018. (Allie Tiller | @allietiller_de)

By Farrah Blaydes, Staff Reporter

On Sunday night 38 students and community members attended the public astronomy observation event held on Neckers roof.

Before the event began there were minor complications getting the event started.

Members of the community gathered around the doors that were supposed to be open at 8:15 p.m.


“It seems that it’s been canceled,” Lincoln Butzow, a freshman studying forestry, said. “But, there’s been no one to tell anyone that it’s been canceled.”

Bob Baer, computer and electronic specialist for the physics department and head coordinator for the event, came with students from the physics department to unlock the doors.

The rooftop filled with community members pointing out constellations and looking through telescopes provided by the physics department.

Faculty and students from the physics department helped coordinate the event along with the local astronomy club, Astronomical Association of Southern Illinois.

Baer said students and community members can get more involved with the event by joining the Saluki Astronomy registered student organization on campus.

Students can also join the AASI club that meets every second Monday of the month at Pagliai’s Pizza in Carbondale, Baer said.

“We’re a group of amateurs that work with Bob and help him with the viewings,” Harry Treece, president of AASI, said. “We also hold our own viewings once a month.”


The AASI club, founded in 1997, consists of local community members who gather to teach and study astronomy. The club typically holds their astronomy viewings at Giant City state park visitors center once a month.

“We try to bring astronomy to the people,” Treece said.

The viewing attracted students from various departments on campus, such as radiology and forestry.

Antoine Washington, a junior studying automotive tech, attended the event for the first time Sunday night.

Washington said it was pretty to look through the telescopes and actually see the moon and stars.

“It’s a cool experience because it’s not something you get to do all the time, not everyone has a big expensive telescope,” Washington said.

Marilyn Mitchner, a Carbondale community member said the event is inclusive to both the student body and local community.

“I think this is a great community event because it includes people from the local community and students,” Mitchner said. “It’s a great way to bring both together.”

Public Astronomy observatory events are held on the third Sunday of each month.

Staff reporter Farrah Blaydes can be reached at or on Twitter at @Farrah_Blaydes.

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