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May 29, 2012

MADISON - Wisconsin state park visitors will have multiple opportunities this summer to view and learn about the night sky by participating in the "Universe in the Park" outreach program conducted by the Department of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

There are 44 programs that will be held at 24 different parks throughout the summer and early fall.

A typical session begins just after sunset, usually about 9 p.m., with a 20- to 30-minute talk and slide show about astronomy intended to present a broad overview of astronomy or recent astronomical news. After the talk, when the sky is dark, visitors have an opportunity to view whatever astronomical objects are available through telescopes.

Most of the question-and-answer period takes place around the telescopes.. During the height of the summer, the sessions can attract audiences of 70 to 80 people.

Visitors can show up for the slide show and question-and-answer period even if it is cloudy and the sky cannot be viewed through the telescope. The sessions are held if it is raining only if there is a shelter available.

"Universe in the Park," [] (exit DNR) which began in 1996, is predicated on the idea that the best environment in which enjoy astronomy is outside under dark skies, according to Prof. Eric M. Wilcots, who coordinates the program.

Universe in the Park events themselves are free, but visitors to Wisconsin State Parks and Forests must have a daily or annual vehicle admission sticker.

Anyone interested in attending a session should always contact the park to make sure the program is on as scheduled, because the schedule occasionally changes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin DNR Customer Information - 888-936-7463 or Universe in the Park, Dept. of Astronomy, UW-Madison, 608-262-3071

2012 Universe in the Park Schedule
Last Revised: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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