An evening of star gazing presented at winery

MAPLE PARK – Dean Martin had it right when he crooned “That’s Amore” – wine, stars and Italian food are a magical combination. Northern Illinois University STEM Outreach will present “Star Gazing at the Winery” from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 at Acquaviva Winery, on Route 38 in rural Maple Park.

Speakers include NASA Ambassador Joel Knapper, NIU Associate Professor of Plate Tectonics, Geodynamics and Planetary Geology Paul Stoddard, and physicist Matthew Wiesner, manager of NIU’s observatory.

Throughout the evening, attendees should be able to view the Perseid meteor shower. These fast, bright meteors radiate from the Perseus constellation and appear every August. Depending on weather conditions, the meteors should be visible with the naked eye.

The speakers are planning a fun, casual talk about the latest in astronomy news. Knapper will discuss the Cassini-Huygens, a robotic spacecraft that was launched in 1997 and has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. Cassini recently made headlines by capturing breathtaking images of Earth, the moon and the rings of Saturn.

Stoddard plans to talk about the Perseid meteors, the difference between meteors and meteorites, and the possibility of the United States being hit by a large meteor such as the one that recently crashed in Russia.

Wiesner will bring telescopes and help attendees identify features in the night sky.

People are welcome to bring their own telescopes and stake out a spot to star gaze on one of Acquaviva’s patios. Organizers say that the winery is located in an area with less ambient light so it should be ideal for star gazing.

'Star Gazing at the Winery'

7:30-10:30 p.m. Aug. 11

Acquaviva Winery, Maple Park

Free event; food and beverages available for purchase. The event will go on regardless of weather.

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