Atlantic Cape Offers Astronomy Course in New Observatory This Spring

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Fundamentals of Astronomy will review the science of astronomy and the history of studying the universe.

Atlantic Cape Community College will welcome local astronomy expert Fred Schaaf as the Beacons by the Sea Visiting Professor for the spring semester.

During his visit, Schaaf will serve as an adjunct instructor, teaching Fundamentals of Astronomy, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:45 p.m. The lab, which will take place in the new Mary M. Sacchinelli and Augustino J. Sacchinelli Observatory on the rooftop of Atlantic Cape’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Math building, is Thursdays, 7-9:45 p.m.

Schaaf, of Millville, is the author of 13 books on astronomy and has been a contributing editor and columnist for Sky & Telescope magazine for more than two decades. Additionally, Schaaf teaches astronomy at Rowan University and Rowan College at Gloucester County and pens the bi-weekly astronomy column for The Press of Atlantic City.

Schaaf received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Muhlenberg College and his Master in English from Binghamton University (SUNY). Schaaf learned all that he knows about astronomy through extensive research. He has said he was primarily self-educated and influenced by people he has encountered and by science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Fundamentals of Astronomy will review the science of astronomy and the history of studying the universe. The course places special emphasis on observation, with many labs involving direct viewing of the sky to achieve a proficiency in locating a wide range of specific astronomical objects in the sky.

The visiting professor program is funded by the Atlantic Cape Foundation and Beacons by the Sea, a public arts and fundraising project that placed artist-decorated lighthouses in prominent locations throughout New Jersey’s Atlantic and Cape May counties in 2003. Other visiting scholars have included a poet, a judge and a veteran broadcaster.

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