Universe in the Park is a summer outreach program hosted by the University of Minnesota's Institute for Astrophysics and area state and local parks. This annual program, modeled after a very successful project at the University of Wisconsin, is headed by faculty member Evan Skillman and graduate student Damon Farnsworth.
At our events, representatives of the Institute will present a short (20–30 min) public talk and slide show. Presentations cover a variety of astronomical topics such as: the history of matter, how astronomers "see", and a journey through our solar system.
Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, we provide free star maps (e.g. www.skymaps.com) and are happy to show visitors how to use them. Throughout the evening, we encourage questions from the audience and enjoy discussing topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.
Through these events, we hope to convey the excitement of modern astronomical research while simultaneously providing an enjoyable introduction to amateur astronomy. Although a vehicle permit is usually required to enter the parks, the events are free to the public. Please join us!
For locations we will be at on specific dates please see our schedule for the summer of 2013!
Summer 2013 UITP Schedule
Past locations have included:
- Afton State Park
- Eastman Nature Center
- Father Hennepin State Park
- Lake Maria State Park
- Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
- William O'Brien State Park
- Lake Shetek State Park
- Lowry Nature Center
- Camden State Park
- Gooseberry Falls State Park
- Tettegouche State Park
- Dodge Nature Center
- Tamarack Nature Center
- Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
- Charles A. Lindbergh State Park
- Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Events are scheduled Fridays and Saturdays, (rain or shine) usually beginning in June and ending mid-August. See the SCHEDULE for more details. Presentations typically run from 8:30 to 10:00 or 11:00pm, including telescope observing.
The events are FREE, although usually a vehicle permit is required to enter the parks. So bring your family and friends!
You don't need to bring anything besides yourself, friends, and an interest in astronomy: we'll provide all the equipment. However, we do have some recommendations...
- Wear long pants/sleeves - It may be summer, but the temperature can still dip down in the evenings, and you're also not moving around very much during observing.
- Bugspray - Nothing makes observing (or any other activity) more annoying than having to swat off mosquitos constantly! PLEASE do NOT spray it near the telescopes. Apply it beforehand or briefly walk away from the telescopes to spray.
Interested in more information? Contact Damon Farnsworth at .