‘Star Party’ Gives Canada-Wide Viewers Glimpse of Outer Space


Astronomy clubs across the country are holding parties on Saturday to celebrate Canada 150

When 15-year-old Matt Russo saw the rings of Saturn for the first time, it changed his life.

“You never forget that, seeing the exact same thing that Galileo saw hundreds of years before,” Russo told CBC Toronto on Saturday.

Nearly two decades later, Russo is a post-doctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. He will be volunteering at the University of Toronto’s “star party” on Saturday night.

The galactic bash is one of many held by astronomy clubs across the country to celebrate Canada 150. Attendees will get a chance to stare at the stars at the same time as other outer space enthusiasts from coast-to-coast.

The national event is organized by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and hosted at different venues.

In Toronto, visitors can check out the stars for free at the at the Ontario Science Centre’s Teluscape or at the University of Toronto’s back campus soccer field when the sun goes down.

There will be six telescopes laid out at the University of Toronto’s back soccer field, but Russo expects many “amateur astrophysicists” will bring their own.

Saturn, Jupiter and first quarter moon visible

With many planets visible, Russo explains it is a great time to look at the sky.

“We’re going to be able to see Saturn, Jupiter and the first quarter moon, which will be half illuminated by the sun,” he said.

‘You never forget that, seeing the exact same thing that Galileo saw hundreds of years before.’– Matt Russo

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada say attendees may also be able to see the International Space Station, clear skies permitting.

There is nothing quite like sharing the secrets of outer-space with the public, Russo added.

“It’s such a positive vibe. Everyone is in the best spirit of curiosity,” he said. “If you get a good night where the sky is clear, it takes you out of the city for just a little bit, to experience a deeper connection with the universe.

“It’s really a great way to find your place in the universe.”

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