Under the Knife: Starlight, starbright Astronomy Club

The recently established Astronomy Club prides itself on making the beauty and intrigue of the sky available to every student at Geneseo.

Astronomy Club is an event-based group, without weekly meetings, that was started about two years ago. Junior Pedro Rodriguez serves as the club's webmaster and "sky-eye" and was also one of the founding members of the club. Rodriguez expressed that the motivation in starting Astronomy Club was to "provide a way for average students to experience astronomy."

The organization is not just for people interested in science; members of the club are majoring in many different fields. Although astronomy falls under the realm of physics, Rodriguez assured that "Physics Club is for physicists, Astronomy Club is for average people."

Along with their advisor, Aaron Steinhauer, a professor in the physics department, Astronomy Club has been busy organizing events that allow students to view astronomical phenomena and explore and celebrate the relationship that human beings have had with the sky throughout our existence.

In the past, they have hosted a discussion of astronomical mythologies, where the topics included, among other things, myths about creation, eclipses and constellations. The club has also hosted constellation viewings in the Roemer Arboretum, glow-in-the-dark Frisbee games during meteor showers and events where those in attendance can build their own solar system or Jupiter alien.

The quintessential activities of the Astronomy Club are the various viewings of astronomical bodies or phenomena offered from the roof of the Integrated Science Center. There are several times throughout the semester when the club may offer viewings of the moon or of a meteor shower.

In the spring semester, there are organized viewings of Saturn and in the fall semester, viewings of Jupiter. This will continue until these two planets switch and can only be viewed in the opposite semester, which happens every few years.

Junior Danielle Orsini, president of Astronomy Club, said, "People are always really surprised when they come to the viewings and realize that they can actually see the craters on the moon or the rings of Saturn."

Rodriguez added, "You can always look up a picture of these things in books, but you don't really realize how amazing they are until you actually look at it through a telescope."

The executive board members of Astronomy Club are proof that their approach to astronomy attracts students with all different kinds of interests. Sophomore and public relations coordinator Marissa Konieczko said she was attracted to the club because, "I'm a huge sci-fi nut. I've probably seen every episode of NOVA and I've always been interested in astronomy."

Orsini had a different story. "I heard about a viewing of a meteor shower in 'Daga Field and when I went I fell in love with the idea and concept of viewing space."

The Astronomy Club is already in the process of developing new events to attract more members and to expose more people to this science that they love. It is certain that the club will keep improving and changing. As Rodriguez put it, "You can always do different things with astronomy, but I never get tired of just looking at the moon."