Blinn-Schulenburg hosting ‘star parties’

Feb. 14 and March 27 events will be held at the Schaefer Observatory

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The Blinn College-Schulenburg Campus is hosting two star parties, including a Valentine’s night outing, at its Schaefer Observatory.

The Friday, Feb. 14, event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a tour of constellations and celestial objects. The second star party will be held Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m.

Both are free and open to the public and are dependent on clear evening skies for viewing.

The “star parties” will be led by Rene Gedaly, a self-professed “astra geekette” who discovered her passion for the stars as a Girl Scout Brownie member.

Gedaly is a member of the Houston Astronomical Society (HAS), serving as its president from 2015-17. She now trains telescope operators at the HAS Observatory near Columbus, Texas, and is a member of the American Astronomical Society.

The Schaefer Observatory was built in the 1940s by local hardware store owner H.P. Schaefer and his sons to view the moon.

The family donated the 27-foot galvanized metal structure to the Schulenburg school district in 1991, and Blinn College was given the observatory in 2008. It is located on the grounds of the Schulenburg Campus at 100 Ranger Drive.

Anyone wanting to be placed on an email list for Schaefer Observatory events and cancellations can contact Loraine Orellana at lorellana@blinn.edu.

Those planning to attend either event can go to www.cleardarksky.com and enter “Schaefer Observatory” in the keyword search box to check conditions.

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