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Astro Fest: Arts Fest’s Final Frontier

For the past thirteen years, the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics has educated Arts Fest attendees about the wonders and the mysteries of the universe. AstroFest 2012 aims to provide the lay community with a basic understanding of nature.

The event will continue from today until Saturday, and last from 8:30 pm-11:30 pm each night. The Astronomy Department will open up its planetarium and perform 3D fly throughs of the Milky Way, courtesy of Hayden Planetarium. Faculty and students will present and debate numerous topics, including the discovery of the Higgs-boson particle.

Last night, I experienced what AstroFest 2012 had to offer. I took a 3D tour of the galaxy and then the Universe. It is mesmerizing to learn one’s true place in the cosmos. I learned about the impact the Large Hadron Collider has had on science.

The Department showcased one project that will have a direct impact for a plurality of students. If you need to fill a GN, you might want to wait until Fall ‘13. Andrew Mshar, a 2007 astronomy graduate, has returned to his alma mater to develop a video game to be distributed to ASTRO 001 Web students. In this game, the player student will complete mini games about differing aspects of the course, such as the Martian surface, moon phases, and spectroscopy.

Aside from the presentations, the department will open up its own observatory on the top of Davey Lab beginning at 10:00 pm. Meanwhile, a Penn State alum, who now works at the University of North Carolina, will allow AstroFest visitors to look through robotic telescopes in Chile. This array of glasses bears the benign name, Skynet.

So if art isn’t exactly your thing, check out Astro Fest. It’ll be well worth your time.

About the Author

Doug Dooling, Jr.

I am a staff writer for Onward State. I graduated as a Nittany Lion with Honors in 2013. Now, I am back in Happy Valley to earn a degree at the Penn State Law. Outside of politics and government, my interests include college football, soccer, Irish history, and astronomy.

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