Stars and full moon on view with local amateur astronomer

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Turning eyes to the heavens will be the order of the evening as all are invited to join the Men's Club at a star gazing meeting on Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Rogers Free Library in Bristol. The event is free and open to the public.

Astronomy buff Roger Menard of Westport will make a presentation of the night sky in the Herreshoff Room before the meeting moves to an outdoor location (weather permitting) to observe the heavens through binoculars and telescopes.

"The night of February 9th is a full moon," Mr. Menard said recently, "but it does not rise much before 7 p.m. We should be able to see other objects such as the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy and Mars, even with the moon rising."

His presentation will also include observing the moon with binoculars and telescope, and he encourages those who attend to bring their own binoculars. He will look to identify all the different objects visible in the sky that night, including satellites, planets, constellations, star clusters, nebulae and other galaxies.

He added that he will help star gazing newcomers identify which objects are visible with the naked eye alone, which objects need binoculars to be seen and even describe how to select and use binoculars.

He said he met his wife Judy at college where the first thing they did was look up at the stars. For their 10th wedding anniversary Judy gave him a telescope and he built an observatory on his property.

The Menards moved to Westport from Middletown about ten years ago after Roger spent 37 years with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

He is a graduate of Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell) with a BS in engineering, a member of the Astronomical Society of Southern New England, and instructor with Second Half Lifelong Learning Institute, an affiliate of the University of Mass, Dartmouth.

He said he observes the sky three to four nights a month "to identify and understand the significance of deep space." He can be reached at menarde@charter.net.

Note: This event is rescheduled from Feb. 9, when it was postponed due to expected snow.

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