Astronomy is not just Blue Oyster Cult's greatest song, it's also an excellent gateway science. Merely looking at the night sky through an entry-level telescope sparks the imagination and raises questions. Why are some stars brighter than others? Why are they different colors? How come you can see Mars clearly at certain times of the year and not others? The answers to these questions are found in astronomy, which then offers up a treasure trove of evocative concepts (black body radiators, for example) and examples of mathematics (Keplerian elements, as a for instance) that lead one to a deeper appreciation of mathematics, the mechanics of our clockwork universe and all the wonders it contains. It is a journey of discovery that begins by looking up. Tonight from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., the St. Louis Astronomical Society hosts Stargazing at the Gateway Arch, its monthly telescopes-and-talk observation on the Arch grounds (707 North First Street; www.coreofdiscovery.com). Volunteers from the SLAS bring their telescopes and show you how to find objects of note in the sky (weather permitting), and the indoor presentation "Can You See the Stars?" offers further tips and insight no matter what conditions are. There's no charge to attend.
Mon., July 11, 2011